By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal
The Louisville Municipal School Board of Trustees received several updates on programs in and after school as well as discussing Sixteen Section land issues. CAPPS program producing results in third year Dr. Teresa Jayroe, a professor at Mississippi State University in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, updated the trustees on the impacts the CAPPS program is having in the school district and other opportunities she and others are working on for the district. Jayroe explained the CAPPS program has served over 350 children this year. The program has also brought in numerous volunteers, consultants and teacher candidates from MSU to help the children learn and grow in their skills. The afterschool program held throughout the district is in its third year with matching in kind funds provided by the MSU in form of volunteers and from the district by providing the buildings for the program. Jayroe added that the CAPPS program had also benefitted the Boys and Girls Club through several material and equipment donations. While Jayroe outlined the positive impacts of the CAPPS program, she also explained her efforts and the efforts of others to bring other positive programs into Winston County. Jayro explained that she had gotten Louisville added to the College Access Grant Challenge to help mentor students to going to college. She noted MSU would be holding classes in Winston County to help teachers further their education through a cohort program. “This will give our employees a chance to earn administration degrees,” said Dr. Wade. Jayroe has also applied for the District a RAISE grant for $1.9 million to help the district students. “This brings people in and helps everyone in the community,” said Jayroe. EdOptions add to choices for challenged students Chet Wilkes, LMSD head of the EdOptions program, reviewed the program’s goals and success for the past year with the trustees. Wilkes explained the graduation path program for at risk students had 15 students participate in its pilot year with 80 percent on track to graduate. Of the 15 4 met graduation requirements already, 8 on track to graduate in May, 1 moved over to gain a GED, one transferred out of the district and one is on track to finish next year. The district paid $25,000 for 60 courses in the program. The program allows at risk students to enroll in a virtual high school that requires 21 credits to graduate and is a SACS accredited school. The students who graduate from the program receive a diploma from the virtual school and can walk with their fellow LMSD graduates with the only difference being the diploma registered as another school. “We saved some kids from dropping out,” said Wilkes. Superintendent William Wade added that the new program will help the district reduce it dropout rates. Sixteen Section lands to remain at 4 percent for churches, etc. The Board of Trustees approved several regular hunting and residential leases but get caught up in a discussion of lease rates on churches, cemeteries and parks. Board president Bobby Moody encouraged the board to lower the present lease rate from 4 percent of the assessed value to 2 percent of the assessed value. Wade explained that the Secretary of State had notified the board that lowering rates and therefore cutting funds to the district was not a good idea. “Some of these leases jumped over 1000 percent,” said Moody. “It is total out of whack.” Sixteen Section land manager Hal Overstreet explained most county’s charged 5 percent of assessed value and that their rates in most cases were equal to or higher than LMSD rates. “You have to do what is financial best for the school,”noted Overstreet. Betty Byrd explained she had struggled with the decision but after reading an attorney general’s opinion on the matter that she believe keeping it at 4 percent was the right decision. The board voted 4 to 1 to keep the assessed rate at 4 percent. Finances on track The school board reviewed the district financial balances with business manager Tracy Luke noting March was a big collection month for district taxes and that the dollars collected were better than last year presently. The trustees approved the purchase of three busses at the cost of $75,920 each with the funds to come from Sixteen Section funds. The trustees also questioned switching banks since the interest gained would not justify the expense of switching all the materials and time involved. The trustees requested Luke to check into the possibility of not switching in order to defray the costs of such a move. NAACP provides list of concerns In a public participation moment, Annie Hudson of the NAACP education committee listed the groups concerns for the district. The concerns were: unfair discipline at EMS, concern over possible restructuring of 7,8 grade classes to LHS, provide meeting agenda in paper copies, allow for more public comment at meetings, need for stricter uniform compliance at all schools, communicate all programs available at the schools to the community more effectively, and encourage minority hirings. The board noted the concerns and added they would aim to provide some answers back. In other business, the trustees: • Approved most revised board policies. Byrd requested the sex education policy be held out and discussed at the next board meeting to see if the abstinence only choice was the best one for the district or if the abstinence plus would be a better choice. • Discussed video taping future board meetings. • Discussed moving Boys and Girls Club. • Discussed delaying moving 7th and 8th grade classes. • Set the next regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on May 8.