Feeley questions changes

Published 12:24 pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

A legislative edict that teachers be paid once a month rather than twice a month as they had been previously drew an angry response from Picayune school board member Frank Feeley.

When the board arrived at the agenda item calling for a vote to approve the payroll, Feeley angrily noted that teachers will have gone six weeks without a pay check when they receive their next one at the end of January. Teachers received their December check in the middle of December shortly before schools closed for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

“It’s easy for them (legislators) to sit up there (in the capitol in Jackson) and do this, but it burns me up,” Feeley said.

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He asked Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell if the administration could contact state senators and representatives and urge them to change back to the previous system of paying twice a month.

Harrell told him that Superintendent Dean Shaw, who was not at Tuesday night’s meeting, had made several calls to the capitol urging a return to the previous pay schedule.

Feeley then asked him if he knew how Picayune’s state senators stood on the pay frequency issue.

“I don’t know, but both Sen. (Angela) Hill and Sen. (Tony) Smith voted for the change” to paying once a month, Harrell said.

The only other matter on the agenda that drew much comment was when the board approved JTS Financial as the Section 125 plan administrator for the insurance cafeteria plan for employee benefits.

Again, Feeley spoke out and thanked the administration for making the recommendation since he believed the change to JTS would save money for both the employees and the school district.

Harrell pointed out to the board that the district was accepting $176,000 in grant money when the board voted to approve grants from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, Target and the State Department of Education. The state grant was for $129,000 for the pre-K program and a portion of the LPRVF would pay the 25 percent match required of the district, he said.

The board also approved donations from Carolyn Preston, Dr. D.L. Bolton, The Picayune Noon Lions Club, Home Depot and South Side Lower Elementary P.T.O.

In other matters, the board:

Approved the consent agenda including the amended budget and financial statement, claims dockets, out of state travel requests and sole source purchase orders.

— Approved budget modification to the Adult Basic Education grant.

— Approved SPED agreement for psychological services.

— Approved rental agreements for the FEMA shelter and the South Side Elementary cafetorium.

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved 16th section matters, including advertising for bids on a hunting lease.

— Approved a board policy on the annual review of internal dispute resolution for Early Head Start.