By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – School District Trustees have raised the test score needed to be in the gifted program at Davidson Elementary School from 119 to 122.
When the issue was first brought up at the meeting on Feb. 7, Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran told the Trustees that raising the score would not affect students who have already been tested and ruled eligible.
Trustee Taylor Trusty said that before voting he wanted to know the number of students in the program and the ratio to the entire student body. The other Trustees agreed and the issue was tabled until the next meeting.
At the Feb. 21 meeting, Trusty asked to hear Dr. Moran’s opinion of the program and added, “I don’t know if it is right, wrong, or indifferent.”
“This is a difficult call,” Dr. Moran said. “I don’t have a strong feeling whether you approve it or not approve it. I think we have a strong gifted program.”
After several minutes of discussion, Dr. Moran added, “I will say this; the program does allow them to experience a higher depth of knowledge in expression as well as the thinking process.”
After more discussion, Trusty asked, “What are we trying to gain?”
Dr. Moran answered, “I don’t think we are trying to gain anything. We are just trying to stay where most Districts in this area are and that’s at 122.”
“When you are looking at gifted, 122 is more an indicator of truly academic gifted than 119,” she said.
When the vote came, Trustees Cayce Washington, Dr. Steve Edwards, and Board President Lamar Burgess voted for raising the score while Taylor Trusty and Pierce Epes voted against. Currently the program serves 78 students at DES.
After the vote, Dr. Moran said, “This is written in ink, not stone. So, we can give it a year and see how it works. We can always go back if this is not what you expect it to be.”
Among other actions at the Feb. 21 meeting, the Board of Trustees:
Heard from football coach Brad Embry who asked permission to build restrooms, storage, and a concession stand on the home side of the football field.
Embry explained that in order to justify the estimated $15,000 project, the booster club would need to make some of the money back. “If we split the concessions with the band and left them with the visitor’s side and we took the home side, over a year or two we could pay the building off.”
The coach said that he had checked to make sure that his proposal was fair and he listed a number of 3A schools in the area that split the concessions between the football team and the band.
Dr. Edwards asked Embry if he had talked with the band boosters. He answered that he had not and added that he was waiting to see how the board felt about the proposal.
“You’ve got to be careful if you start messing with splitting the revenue.” Trusty said, “All of a sudden you are going to have other hands sticking out saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got a part in that, too. Where is our share?’ I know because I have already heard that.”
“You start talking about revenue sharing and you’re going to have a whole lot of people running at you with their hand out.”
Embry said, “I’m not here to say which way it needs to go. I’m just saying what we would like to do. We would like to fix that place up.”
“I think a lot of people want the place to look better. Want it to function better on Friday night.”
Embry continued that he would like to see a written agreement if the football boosters borrow the money and, as a result, pay off the note “then we are going to start pocketing the money to pay for expenses in football, seven through twelve.”
The discussion continued with Trusty asking how the football program would feel if, for example, the band boosters wanted part of the gate. “That’s what you are going to run into.”
Burgess commented that giving the band boosters the visitor’s side concessions might be a total loss to them at times because of the small number of visitor side fans.
Trusty added that he would like to see if the football and band boosters could get together and build a concession stand building.
Washington said he liked the idea of the two booster groups getting together to share the note and the concessions.
“Something needs to be done,” Embry commented. “I’m just trying to come up with an answer.”
The coach then gave an overview of the future of the football program as he sees it. He said the program should continue to grow and attract more fans to the games meaning more revenue. “We’ve got to continue to fix things out there that can be fixed.”
Embry emphasized that he liked a good band as much as anyone. “I am not in any way trying to harm the band.”
“I want to fix the place up to make it look better to make the game experience better. Some people won’t come because they don’t want to go to the bathroom in that place.”
Burgess said he appreciated Embry bringing his proposal before the board. He said that the other interested parties would have to be consulted in order to come up with a workable solution.
Embry offered to talk with the band boosters and explain his proposal just as he had done with the board. He wanted to get started sometime around May or June “just in time to get something done before football season.”
• Amended the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSAB) application to exclude lighting. Instead the District will apply for an energy efficiency grant for the installation of lights.
• Raised the rental rate for the cafeteria to $100 for the dining area and $150 for both dining area and kitchen.
• Tabled until the Mar. 7 meeting action on purchasing buses after hearing from Resource Officer/ Transpor-tation Director Mario Weekley.
Weekley appeared before the board to express his concerns about the shortage of buses in the District’s fleet. As many as four of the District’s buses were out of action recently.
Trustee Cayce Washing-ton asked Resource Officer/ Transportation Director Mario Weekley if he had considered used buses.
Weekley said he hadn’t looked at any used buses. He added, “Right now, I’ll take whatever I can get.”
The transportation director was told to research both new and used buses and present his findings at the March 7 meeting.
Trusty said the board would convene before the next meeting if necessary. “We all know we’re in a tight for buses right now.”
Last Friday a wrecker from George’s Garage was seen hauling another out of service bus up Main Street.
• Entered executive session and accepted the resignation of Band Director Vic Steen and teacher Kendra Bensch who also serves as softball coach.