WATER VALLEY – Very generous and very anonymous described a donor who contributed $2,200 to the Water Valley High School to help fund an attendance incentive program for junior high and high school students.
Just over half of the money is earmarked to fund $50 drawings, for students, grades seventh through 12, who have perfect attendance in October and November, according to Kitchens. The remainder will be used in later months.
“October and November are key months that Mr. (Sammy)Higdon concerns himself with as far as how the funding comes from Jackson,” Kitchens explained to board members. The principal added that attendance has been an important issue at the school this year, pointing to the district’s dropout prevention plan.
Kitchens also noted that September’s attendance was up from significantly from last year. He pointed to a recent school day prior to the meeting and noted there were only 12 students absent.
“We had to take care of everybody,” the principal jokingly said about that better-than-average attendance.
Board members also accepted a $630 donation from John Person, a Water Valley native. Person donated a payment he received while bidding on a Washington D.C. project for Carother’s Construction. The money is earmarked for the Challenge Program.
“There should be another donation coming,” Business Manager Officer Randy Goodwin added.
Other business conducted at the meeting included:
• Board members will likely make a final decision on whether or not to implement a uniform policy in the school district during the November 3 board meeting. Board President asked for the issue to be placed on the meeting agenda after board members received additional data outlining policies in other school districts.
The uniform issue first surfaced just after the school year started in August when a petition favoring uniforms was presented to the board.
• Kitchens updated board members about parking issues at the high school
“This is an awareness issue,” Kitchens explained, telling board members that parking spaces have been exhausted. Kitchens said the school currently has a waiting list containing almost 10 students who have asked for a parking spot.
The high school has 127 slots available for students and an additional 18 for faculty.
“We pick up more drivers every year,” Kitchens said, adding this was his sixth year.
Hawkins asked for Transportation Director Mario Weekly to be placed on the agenda for the next board meeting for continued parking discussion to discuss parking alternatives.
• Board members approved the hiring of Kim Baker, Lou Ann Holt and Charles Homan Jr. as substitute teachers.
• Goodwin advised board members that the district received a letter from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, advising school officials to be prepared to cut the current school budget by two percent. The potential reduction comes after less than expected revenue in the state’s treasury.
A two percent cut in the budget would mean an estimated $125,000 reduction in the school’s budget, according to Goodwin.
•Elementary teacher Becky York received the nod from school board members to apply for a Chevron Community Pride grant. The board approval came after York presented a slide presentation demonstrating work performed with Chevron Grant previously awarded to the school.
York’s presentation showed how $800 in grant money and $1,350 from in-kind donations was used to construct a flower bed in front of the elementary school. York said the project involved almost 240 people directly and 650 indirectly.