School Board discusses budget, broken property and intercoms

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Picayune School District’s Board of Trustees approved a motion to move forward with next fiscal year’s ad valorem tax resolution.
The tax resolution, which is tied to the next fiscal year’s budget, includes a request for an additional $600,000 when compared to last year’s budget, said District Finance Director Lisa Persick. That brings the total tax request from last year’s $8.4 million to $9 million this year.
Board member Frank Ford asked if the upcoming budget will mean an increase in millage rates to local property owners. Persick said that the District does not request a particular millage rate, but instead a dollar amount. The tax office then takes that request and finds the millage rate that will produce the requested dollar amount.
When asked if the request will equate to an increase in property taxes, Persick said she would be able to answer that question when the tax office finalizes exact figures.
While she did request an increase, Persick said that next year’s budget is not padded. Also, Persick said the Board can revisit the matter in August before the next fiscal year begins.
In another matter, the Board approved a motion to purchase $10,000 worth of Chromebooks for student use at the high school. Assistant Principal Kristi Mitchell said the Chromebooks are used in English, math and history classes and the students appear to enjoy using them. She said that the electronic devices stay in the classrooms at all times, and teachers monitor how they are used. So far, there have been no problems with the use of Chromebooks in the classrooms.
The Board also approved a motion to spend $35,000 to install a new intercom system at the junior high. Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said the intercom system in some classrooms does not work. That leads to announcements having to be made multiple times, first through the intercom, then via individual calls to each of the classrooms where the system no longer works. Installation of the new system is already underway.
During approval of the docket, Board member Frank Feeley asked about damage to a truck purchased the year prior. Apparently a rearview mirror was knocked off of the truck. Feeley asked about the protocol when a member of the staff damages District property. Shaw said the District only requires paperwork if an insurance claim was filed.
Feeley and Board member Frank Ford asked for an explanation of how the damage occurred, and for the establishment of a reporting system to be presented at the next meeting.
In other business the Board:
— Approved a motion to apply for Early Head Start and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership cost of living adjustment. Feeley opposed the motion to approve.
— Approved keeping the athletic ticket package prices the same as last year, however there will be one less home game in the coming year.
The next Board meeting will be July 12 at 5:30 p.m.

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