New Picayune School board member sworn in

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At Tuesday’s meeting of the school board for the Picayune Separate Municipal School District, Patti Stewart was sworn in as a replacement for Ginny Dodd.

Following the swearing in, the board discussed some drainage work expected to take place near Nicholson Elementary. Board member Harvey Miller said some grant funds have become available to do the work. The drainage, which involves a creek behind the school, needs to be cleaned of debris to keep water moving out of the area.

The board approved granting the county right of entry to the area so the work can be conducted.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The purchase of an airport hanger, discussed at the last meeting, was approved. The bus barn manager needs extra storage space and purchasing the hangar would allow that to happen. Apparently the school district has some extra air conditioning units and other items that are of value that need storage. The hangar appraised for $8,500.

Since that last meeting ,Miller said he an opportunity to view the hangar and determined that the district could make use of it. Miller said it was clean and could serve several different uses. Even if the school district decided not to use it for storage, it could be leased out.

While the district approved the purchase, Patch said before the deal would be final he would need to conduct a title search on the hangar.

Early Head Start’s budget of $744,000, which is primarily grant funded, was discussed by the board. That program is used by all school districts in the county. While there has been talk of expanding the program to cater to more children using stimulus funds, the district will be unable to apply for those funds for the next few weeks, Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said. Board member Tony Smith asked Harrell if the funding is approved and then in the next four years the funding ceases, if the district will be held accountable. Harrell said he has already been advised not to do any expansion that the district would not be able to sustain on its own.

Early Head Start is a program that helps less fortunate children get a jump on their schooling, usually catering to children between the ages of birth to three years. Harrell said the program has a profound effect on participating children’s development.

“We take great pride in funding it because it is a special project,” Miller said.

The board approved a motion to apply for the grant funds.

Graduating students of the district may have a few more cords to display as they pick up their diploma on graduation day. Career and Technical Center Director Christie Pinero said that in previous years cords for completing courses at the center have not been awarded. This request would allow students to acquire cords for their two years of participation in the classes at the center. The board approved Pinero’s request. The new cords would not take the place of other cords received for other academic achievements.

During the board member comments portion of the meeting, Stewart complimented the cleanliness of the elementary schools are and related how excited the principals were to show her around during a recent tour. She also took the time to comment on the Early Head Start program.

“You can’t get kids early enough in something like that,” Stewart said.

The board went into executive session to consider student discipline matters. Decisions on those matters are not public record.