By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – The balance between cutting costs and maintaining a safe school environment was one of the topics brought before the school board at a recessed meeting last Thursday, Aug. 12.
A recent walk-through of the schools by the School Board Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Deb-orah Moran was an eye-opener, according to Board member Casey Washington.
“There is no question that we are in financial straits,” said Washington. “That said, we can’t get to where we’re trying to save money to the point that it is dangerous for our students.”
Washington recommended creating a “hot list” of things that pose a safety risk.
“The door at the elementary concerns me,” he said describing the possibility that a door with a broken pneumatic door closer could injure a child.
He added that there are also doors at the front entrance to the high school that are not functioning properly. “We don’t need to get so cost driven on savings that we are jeopardizing the safety of our students.”
“What’s two or three hundred dollars compared to a child losing their fingers because a door slams on them,” Washington said.
Moran said that she would be glad to compile a list of problem areas. “I thank you for your support in that area,” she said. “I think it was quite an eye-opening experience for all of us to see some of the situations we have.”
“I agree with you,” Moran said to Washington. “We’ve gotten to the point that we’re almost penny-wise but pound-foolish. We may be hurting ourselves in the long run if we don’t take care of our facilities.”
Dr. Steve Edwards said, “We’ve always had a really good safety record and I want to keep it.”
Among other actions at the Aug. 12 recessed meeting, the School Board:
• Accepted a donation from the Football Boosters Club of $4339 to pay for the 25-second clocks.
• Granted permission for the 25-second clocks to be purchased with the donated money.
• Heard the Superintendent’s report from Dr. Deborah Moran.
Moran told the Board about her experience during the opening day of school. “I found it invigorating being an old elementary principal. I enjoyed seeing all the little faces.”
She said that she also saw some students who were returning to the District. “Some people are coming back and maybe giving us a second chance. So, I am hoping that we can win their trust and their support and continued participation in our School District.”
Moran then passed out information sheets for Board members to read on a bullying and harassment policy for the District. “We need to get that into our schools as soon as possible,” she said.
Washington asked the Superintendent about the start of school.
Moran said that there was “one little excitement” on Wednesday afternoon. “A toilet exploded I guess is the only way to describe it. We couldn’t turn it on…we couldn’t turn it off…we couldn’t do anything with it.”
She explained that after the City turned the water off a plumber was called. “Mr. Flippin was so nice to us. He offered to talk Dr. Kitchen through the process instead of charging overtime. It was kind of late in the afternoon when I called.”
Moran said that Dr. Kitchen did his best. But, it wasn’t long before Building Trades Instructor Byron Beard got a message about the incident and returned to school to help out. He was able to shut the toilet off.
“I thought that was a good ending to an exciting afternoon,” Moran said. “The water stopped flowing.”