By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – School District officials will provide a community forum for input on the search for a new superintendent at a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Civic Auditorium.
Retiring Superintendent Sammy Higdon announced the forum at the school board’s Oct. 20 meeting. Higdon gave notice of his retirement earlier this year, having served for 25 years in the system.
After a presentation by Dr. E. Harold Fisher on Sept. 21, Board members voted unanimously to contract with the Mississippi School Board Association (MSBA) to head the search at a cost of $9,500, plus expenses. Board members opted to include the community forum, an option offered by MSBA in the hiring process. Comments from the forum will be included in the overall search criteria.
The Civic Auditorium was selected as the venue for the forum in an attempt to get as much participation from the public as possible.
“I would hope the community would really get involved,” Board President Ray Hawkins said about the forum.
One thing is sure, if we open it up, as we should, and they don’t come, they don’t have a whole lot of reason to complain when the final decision is made,” Cayce Washington added.
Officials at the MSBA will conduct the forum.
“I can tell you the pool is rather shallow. There are not a lot of outstanding candidates out there,” Dr. Fisher said during his initial presentation.
Other business conducted at the Oct. 21 meeting included:
• Approved the claims docket.
• Tentatively approved a field trip for the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) contingent upon sufficient funds being raised by the group.
• Changed the grading scale at Davidson. “What the elementary school teachers want to do is go to the modified system like the high school,” Superintendent Sammy Higdon told the Board. “They want to start this second nine weeks.”
Higdon explained that starting the modified system now would not cause any problems with the current grades. “Because of the honor roles, they want to start now,” he added.
• Heard from Superintendent Higdon that there may be another five to seven percent cut in the budget. That would be on top of the $317,000 already cut this year and the $214,000 cut last year. “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, I’m afraid,” commented Casey Washington.
• Approved the District test security plan.
• Hired Brad Sartor as a part-time bus driver to share a route with Hosea Rockette.
• Purchased a new Thomas Built school bus from Empire Truck Sales for $77,900.