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Snow Days Make School Calendar A Moving Target

William Mills of Mills & Mills Architects (left) gave an update to the School Board on upcoming renovations at the high school.

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The school’s calendar will have to be changed again after last week’s snow closed schools for yet another day.

At their regular first of the month meeting on Monday, Feb 7, District School Board Trustees voted for the latest version of the calendar prepared by Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran “with no more snow days.” But, that was before the most recent barrage of frozen precipitation shut down schools on Feb. 10.

“I am starting to number my amended calendars so I can keep up with which one is the latest,” Dr. Moran joked.

One of the already scheduled makeup days will be on Feb. 21, normally the President’s Day holiday, and another will be April 26, the Monday after Easter.

This past Monday, Dr. Moran told the Herald another makeup day will have to be added because school was out last Thursday for the snow. That day could be on a  Saturday or tacked on to the end of the school year.

“We don’t have any days left other than spring break,” she said.

School officials are “kicking around” several dates and the faculty is being consulted, according to Dr. Moran.

Among other actions at the first of the month meeting, the Board of Trustees:

• Heard from Emily Kent of Schneider Electric located in Flowood.

Kend told Trustees that she and Dr.  Moran had been discussing an energy conservation project that could potentially save the WVSD money. “In the past we have been able to save other school districts over 15 to 30 percent in their utility budget.”

Kent explained that performance contracting is a way to help finance facility improvement projects through energy savings. “It’s also a great way to finance a project. We bring the up front funding to your school and provide a guarantee of energy savings annually.”

She cited the Choctaw County Schools as an example of one of their projects where the company was able to bring $700,000 in facility upgrades to the system that saves $58,000 per year.

Trustees offered to discuss the offering and inform Kent by Friday, Feb. 11.

• Heard an update on upcoming renovations at the high school from William Mills of Mills & Mills Architects.

Mills told the board that work on the HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) was going to cost around $406,000. “And, about the same for the windows.”

Trustee Casey Washing-ton said that he would like to see local contractors invol-ved in the construction. “They’ve got children in the system. It’s money going right back into our own community.”

Washington acknowledged that the bidding process is open to the public. “They’ve got to get the best bid.”

• Tabled a vote on raising the score from 119 to 122 for students to enter the gifted program.

Raising the score will not affect students who have already been tested and ruled eligible, according to Dr. Moran. The goal is to align the local program with other gifted programs across the state. Normally from two to ten percent of the student body will test in the gifted range.

Trustee Taylor Trusty said that before voting he wanted to know the number of students currently in the program and the ratio to the entire student body. The other board members agreed.

• Scheduled annual financial training for School Board members on April 16 with April 9 as a second choice.

• Disposed of three non-working computer printers and one overhead projector.

• Heard the superintendent’s report.

Dr. Moran told Board members that four of the District’s buses had broken down that afternoon (Feb. 7). One had a battery problem, one a diesel fuel leak, and the other two had to be towed with unidentified problems.

The routes covered by buses 22 and 26 were late the next day because of the breakdowns, she added.

Dr. Moran also congratulated Katie Naron for being selected DES Teacher of the Year.

The full text of Dr. Moran’s report is on the Herald’s website,

All five trustees were present at the meeting that began with an executive session to discuss a student issue. The open portion of the meeting began at 6:43 and ended at 7:45 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Feb. 21.


February 7, 2011 School Board Report

by Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran

Congratulations to Katie Naron for being selected at DBS Teacher of the Year.

Month 5 Data has not been verified in MSIS. It will be shared at our next February meeting.

The MASS Conference was very informative the week of January 24th to 261 . I had the privilege to hear Jim Keith(Current Legal Issues), Dr. Tom Burnham(Welcome), Dr. Lynn House (Overview of the Common Core State Standards and Assessments), Holmes Adams, Attorney, Adams and Reese LLP (Non Renewals), MSBA Representatives (Superintendent Secretaries: Superheroes in Disguise), Becky Bone, National Literacy Consultant, Scholastic, Inc. (Family and Community Engagement as a Catalyst to School Reform), Jean Massey, Associate State Superintendent (Update on New Career Pathway for High School Students), and Jeremy Foster, Keynote Speaker (Your are the Difference).

Direct Deposit- We were successful with our first direct deposit. Everyone that signed up had their money delivered to their account. Thank you, Ms. Hall and Mr. Surrette. These two ladies worked tirelessly and diligently to make this happen for our district.

I request that we consider scheduling our Board Appreciation Walk-through for February 15th. We will visit Water Valley High School and Davidson Elementary. The principals will schedule presentations including teachers and students to share the good things going on in our district. Our next regular board meeting is scheduled for February 21st.

I will be attending the MASS Superintendent Meeting this Wednesday, weather permitting.

Bus 22 and 26 will be late tomorrow. We have 4 buses that broke down today. Mr. Weekley and Ms. Wooten will take the GED students in their vehicles tomorrow.

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