Routine matters tackled by Picayune School Board of Trustees

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Picayune School District’s Board of Trustees approved several routine matters during Tuesday evening’s meeting, including hearing about what classifies a student as being homeless.

Curriculum Director Mary Williams said there are a number of things that would lead to a student being classified as homeless.

Typically children who are classified as such don’t stay in the same home each and every night, or they live in a home with two or more families. Williams said that might occur when a parent loses their job or is displaced due to a hurricane.

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Establishing the existence of homeless children is determined by the answers parents provide on registration forms. The District’s staff look for answers to key questions, and if a form is flagged, then the staff investigates further. That investigation process is needed because sometimes parents answer the questions incorrectly.

Typically the older a student becomes, the less likely they are to be classified as homeless, that’s because the parents are less likely to identify their child as such, Williams said.

As a result, a majority of the students classified as homeless attend the elementary schools.

Currently there are 52 children within the District listed as being homeless. Those statistics are reported to the state, Williams said.

However, if two or more families are living together in the same home by choice to save money, the child is not listed as homeless, Williams said.

In another matter the Board approved a motion to re-advertise for bids for the sale of two old school buses and four old vehicles.

District Finance Director Lisa Persick said the new motion was needed because previous bids opened during a previous meeting were rejected by the Board. Subsequently the Board asked Persick to find out how much the District could get to scrap the vehicles.

When the price to scrap them came in less than the previous bids received, the decision to re-advertise for bids to sell the vehicles was approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Board also discussed moving to a District-wide contract for copier machine maintenance. That decision was made after Persick said that each principal decides which company to go with and what type of service contract to go with.

Board member Dr. Lori Blackmer started the conversation based off an overage fee she saw on the docket.

Board members Frank Feeley and Frank Ford then suggested the District change the policy so that one provider would provide that service district wide in the hope of saving money.

“I just think we need to run this thing like a business,” Feeley said.

In other business the Board:

— Approved the Children in Foster Care, Homeless Children and English Learner’s handbooks.

The next meeting will be Oct. 24 at noon.