PRC School Board discuss legislative survey

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PRC Board members discuss a legislative survey given to each School Board in Mississippi.

PRC Board members discuss a legislative survey given to each School Board in Mississippi.

On Monday, the Pearl River County School District Board of Trustees discussed and voted on the 2016 Mississippi Legislative Survey.
Annually, the Mississippi School Board Association surveys boards across the state on key issues in the state, Jeremy Weir, president of the PRC Board of Trustees, said. Comments from the administration during the meeting were also heard throughout the survey. Each Board member can vote on each question under three categories: support, oppose or no opinion.
Some of the questions shed light on contrasting perspectives and dialogue throughout the Board.
The first question dealt with legislation increasing the qualifications for individuals running for local school boards. All Board members opposed, except for Rodney Dyess who supported it.
“If you increased qualifications, it takes out business owners who might not have a college degree, but have ran a business for multiple years,” Board member Natalie Glorioso said.
“I feel like the increase will take out a pool of representatives that we need,” Kimberly Alford, curriculum coordinator, said. “We promote students to graduate from high school and either go into the work force immediately or go to other levels of education, so having both of those represented on the Board is something we should support.”
The current minimum qualification to be on a school board in Mississippi is a high school diploma.
The next highly talked about question, which PRC Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said was “a tough one,” pertained to legislation allowing local school boards to design administrator performance incentive packages.
“The only part that throws me off is who designs the packages and who approves the packages?” Lumpkin said.
He and the Board discussed requesting a change of the wording in the question from “design” to “approve.” However, the Board decided to vote “no opinion” on the topic.
The Board also discussed legislation allowing student vouchers to be funded by Mississippi Adequate Education Program money, which all of the Board opposed, except Weir.
“The way I see it is if there is a child that can be better educated here, we need to find a way to fund it,” Weir said.
However, Glorioso responded by saying it is not the funding, it’s the lack of room the district has to accommodate more students.
The following survey questions were voted on by the Board unanimously:
• The Board supported legislation requiring all school board members to be elected.
• The Board opposed state legislation changing the school board election laws so that all school board members will stand for election, reelection, appointment and reappointment at the same time.
• The Board opposed an increase in board member’s compensation.
• The Board unanimously supported the code of conduct and what it entails.
• The Board supported legislation changing the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula from average daily attendance to total enrollment.
“Students have to be at school for 63 percent of the day to be counted present,” Weir said. “If they are here for 62 percent of the day, it is as if they were never here, which I don’t get.”
Weir said if the school funded the student’s food and education throughout 62 percent of the day and the student had to leave, the district is not refunded for that expense because the student was not enrolled that day.

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