By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
The Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees in the February 11 meeting changed the officer election policy, approved Main Street Medical to work with the district on health screenings and approved ACT preparation work.
In a controversial 3 to 2 vote, the trustees changed the current board policy and election system from a board vote to a rotational schedule.
“I think a rotational plan would be best and move away from personality conflicts and politics,” said board member Bobby Moody. “This takes the pressure off and gives every board member an opportunity to serve.”
Board President Cathy Edwards voiced her concerns over the policy and the effects it may have on the board with some members not wanting to preside over meetings or new board members coming into a leadership role due to the rotation.
“How does this change in policy benefit the children of the district?” asked Edwards.
Sheila Hickman opened the item for discussion after the measure appeared to receive a 2 to 2 voice vote and Moody requested a show of hands.
After the discussion, the show of hand vote was 3 to 2 with the measure passing and set to be implemented in July 2014.
The board did move to a topic that should benefit the students in the district. The board approved Emily Perkins, Family Nurse Practitioner, to work with district officials to help setup a child wellness check up.
Perkins outlined that many children in the school district are eligible for a Health and Wellness check up through Medicaid, CHIPS or a family’s insurance provider but many families fail to complete a check up for a child.
Perkins offered to come into the district and work with parents to schedule these check ups and provide the check ups for the students. She added that the check ups could as be a valid athletic screening as well.
“It is a win-win situation for all,” said Perkins, “We check eligibility and come into the schools and do the screening with no cost to the district.”
Perkins added that with preventative medicine as the focus of Medicaid and all insurance companies now that this type of screening will be good and gives them an opportunity to help a child possible before something gets serious.
The board approved Perkins to work with district staff to send home flyers and other information to families wishing to participate in the program.
In other business, the trustees:
- Discussed ways to enhance ACT testing scores in the district. Director of Assessment and Professional Development Nola Bryant ACT outlined that the district was working with students to better the scores and help each student prepare for the test. She noted that all schools for the 9th and 10th grades were giving preparation tests for the ACT and all schools had workbooks available to help prepare for the test.“This is a real benefit for the students who are not good test takers but do pass their classes and do well,” said Hickman. “We do need to train them for the test.”Superintendent Ken McMullan noted that a student that scores a 17 on the ACT can graduate without the state tests.
The average district score is 16.
- Heard from Excel by 5 leaders Bob Clay and Frank Cooper. The group is aiming to establish an Excel by Program in Winston County. The county became an Excel By 5 candidate community after its application was accepted by the organization. Excel By 5 is a Mississippi-only organization that provides guidelines for communities to support children from birth to age 5 and ensure they are eventually prepared to start kindergarten. Those that meet the guidelines are officially recognized as early-childhood certified communities. The certification process generally takes two to three years. Clay noted that the certification is an economic development tool as well as a way to improve a community over time.“Early childhood education is so important to every community,” said Clay.
- Board approved financial reports and bank balances.
- Approved special education amendment change to the IDEA part b and preschool program budget of 2012 for auditing purposes.
- Approved four Sixteen Section items.
- Reviewed Department of Education’s initial audit findings which appear positive according to staff.
- Held executive session on sale of school properties including Rocky Hill, Gum Branch and Bond. They approved to advertise. Discussed personnel and approved new athletic director at Louisville High School with no additional pay. Approved superintendent evaluation. Approved staff recommendations with principals and administrative staff.
- Approved next meeting for March 25 at 5:30 p.m.
January 14 meeting:
- The Louisville Municipal School District trustees in the January 14 held a swearing in of a new board member, Sheila Hickman.
- Approved getting bids for the gym repair at Eiland Middle School.
- Discussed the possibility of receiving a 90/10 split FEMA grant for a building at Nanih Waiya.
- Discussed the new testing model and tracking students trhough the STAR data testing.
- Approved financial reports and 16th section land items.