16th section matters discussed by Picayune School Board of Trustees

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Questions about how to charge the correct rate to lessees of 16th section land and some rules for the high school football stadium were discussed at the Picayune School Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.
Bill Cheney, assistant secretary of state lands for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, attended the meeting at the Board’s request because several members had concerns whether the correct amount was being charged. Cheney said that so long as the value of the land is determined through the use of a private assessor or the local Tax Assessor’s Office, then the proper rates are being charged. However, the problem occurs when assessments take place between periods of high and low market value.
One example outlined during the meeting was a piece of property that the District charged $151 per year previously, but that rate recently increased to $529. Cheney said the previous assessment was done in 2007 when the market was low. Rates were changed in light of recent adjustments to assessment values.
In other business, the Board was asked to approve a motion to allow Curriculum Coordinator Mary Williams to apply for grant funding under the Algebra Nation program with the Mississippi Department of Education. Williams said the program is still in the pilot phase, but provides school districts with computer software and workbooks that can help students excel in the subject. She said 30 districts participated in the pilot program last year, all of which showed some sort of growth in testing scores.
The program is funded by MDE and provides the software and workbooks to students. Establishment of a computer lab is the responsibility of the District.
The Board approved a motion for Williams to apply for the funding.
Williams also spoke about some changes to the gifted program, which is offered to qualifying students in second through sixth grades. Students are screened in the first grade. Qualifying students are enrolled in the program in second grade. She said there are currently 147 students in the program in those grades. The changes to the program include sending progress reports three times per year instead of four and to send them separate from the student’s regular report cards to avoid confusion. Williams said the change was necessary because parents did not know gifted students were graded on a point basis in the gifted program, so a 50 on the gifted report did not mean the student earned an “F.”
Other changes include adjusting the program to align with the new common core standards and updating the handbook.
Bids to purchase a house on 16th section land were opened at Tuesday’s meeting. Two bids were submitted, one for $4,351 from Mark Gibson of Court Properties, and another by Lavar Thompson for $6,500. District Finance Director Lisa Persick said the bids were for a house at 103 Carver Drive.
The Board approved a motion to accept the bid from Thompson.
Rules for events at the Lee/Triplet Stadium were also outlined at the meeting. Maj. Chad Dorn said signs will be placed at both entrances of the home side of the stadium and will go into effect immediately.
They address instances of outside beverages being brought into the stadium, children being left at the stadium unattended by parents and students loitering at the concession stand, restrooms and behind the stadium.
The next school board meeting will be Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m.

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