Early Head Start to apply for grant funding to help fathers

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

EDUCATION GRANT: Picayune’s Early Head Start Director Pam Thomas requested the board to allow her to apply for a grant to help fathers. Photo by Ashley Collins.


Tuesday, the Picayune School Board approved a grant application and classroom renovations for Picayune’s Early Head Start.

Early Head Start Director Pam Thomas requested several items at the meeting, including a motion to apply for a new pathways for fathers and families grant.

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“We’re asking to apply for a five-year grant, which would work with fathers to help provide training and job search and working with various agencies to get them on the path to be a better father,” Thomas said.

The program plans to partner with several local agencies, including Sav-A-Life pregnancy support services, to provide numerous services for fathers. The grant is worth $1 million and will be funded by the federal government, Thomas said.

If the grant is awarded, Thomas plans to advertise the program locally. She said the services will be voluntary and participating fathers won’t be required to meet any requirements.

The board approved applying for the grant.

Thomas also requested five new vehicles for the use by Early Head Start and local agencies.

“A lot of the vehicles we have aren’t good to travel. Also, these vehicles will be used by new staff to travel to childcare agencies,” Thomas said.

Early Head Start currently has five vehicles, but only three are in good condition, Thomas said.

Several board members raised concerns about the high cost associated with the five vehicles requested.

Thomas said the vehicles would be purchased using their own funds and would be utilized by every agency in the county.

The board agreed to table the issue until further notice.

In another matter, the board approved a request to allow Early Head Start to renovate their classrooms to meet ADA compliance through the use of grant money.

Also at the meeting, Kelly McMullan, attorney at the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, spoke about 16th section land management in the district.

“We’re going around to review school districts and sit down with superintendents to discuss how to better leases in the 16th section,” McMullan said.

Several board members asked questions, including board member Lori Blackmer.

“How can we improve our section productivity?” Blackmer asked.

McMullan advised the board to focus on residential and timber leases in this particular district.

The board agreed to keep in touch with McMullan to ensure the 16th section land is utilized to it’s fullest potential.

In other news, the board:

—Approved the special education IDEA budget for the upcoming school year.

The next board meeting will be July 28 at noon.