By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – School board trustees have agreed to let staff members from the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University formulate a redistricting plan for the local school district.
The decision was made during a redistricting work session held during the regular first-of-the-month School Board meeting Monday night. Trustees agreed to allow Lydia Quarles, Senior Policy Analyst, and Dallas Breen, Senior Research Associate, put together several different plans that would allow the board a choice.
Initially it was thought that the Trustees would work with Quarles and Breen and come up with a plan during the work session. However, after listening to a 45-minute presentation, Trustee Casey Washington suggested allowing the pair to put together the plans and send them to Board members. “We’ve got to do what’s best,” he said. “That’s just my opinion. We could spend all night on this.”
The problem is that the School District’s population of 6936 has to be evenly divided between the five Trustee seats and currently the individual districts deviate from as much as 20 percent over (1667 people in District 5) and 17 percent under (1149 people in District 2). Under the “one man, one vote” section of the Voting Right Act of 1965 the trustee districts within the school district have to be as close to equal population as possible.
The redistricting plans are expected to be ready for discussion at the September meeting. Following that, there will have to be two public hearings to allow “stake holder” input.
Among other actions at the Aug. 8 meeting, the Board of Trustees:
• Approved changes in the Alternative School handbook presented by Jerry Holt.
• Approved a list of school bus turnarounds to be submitted to the Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors.
• Disposed of assets.
• Accepted a $11,046 bid from Tri-Star Mechanical Contractors of Batesville for replacement of the boiler at Davidson Elementary School.
• Tabled bids for a fuel tank and painting at the high school.
• Heard from Food Service Director Meghan Marshall regarding lunch tag policy.
• Scheduled continuing education courses for Board members.
• Heard the superintendent’s report from Kim Chrestman.
The first day of school went well, Chrestman told the board. However, air conditioning problems have plagued both schools, he added. “Many of our window units have broken down during the extreme heat of the last weeks.”
Chrestman said that air conditioning service was hard to get and replacement units were delayed in shipping. But, in spite of the problems, all classrooms at the elementary school were air conditioned for the first day of school.
“We were not as lucky at the high school,” he said, adding that four rooms were without air on the first day.
Chrestman extended an invitation to the community for Thursday night to meet the 2011 football team, the high school band, and the cheerleaders.
The superintendent said that the football team would be playing in Vardaman Friday night in a pre-season jamboree.
• Entered executive session to discuss a resignation.
The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 22 beginning at 6:30 in the district office boardroom.
Report from Superintendent Kim Chrestman
I would like to thank the administrators, maintenance, and janitorial staff at each campus for their efforts in preparing the facilities and grounds for the beginning of school. A special “thanks” goes out to WVSD School Board member, Casey Washington, for providing a group of young men to help at both campuses with preparing the facilities and grounds. I also want to recognize David Floyd, who has been putting in a lot of “extra” hours in preparation for the beginning of school.
The first day of school went well. I visited the elementary school and high school twice during the course of the first school day. At both campuses administrators and counselors were working to make sure all students were appropriately registered and placed into classes. Teachers and students were in their classes and actively involved in appropriate activities.
Air conditioning problems have plagued both campuses, high school and elementary. Many of the window units have broken down during the extreme heat of the last weeks. Air conditioning service was difficult to get and replacement units were delayed in shipping. We were able to get all classrooms at the elementary working with air conditioning for the first day of school. We were not so lucky at the high school. There were four classrooms that we were unable to get air conditioners working for our first day of school. Teachers utilized open classrooms where air conditioning was working to have class. We do have air conditioning in all classrooms at the high school/junior high as of today.
School renovations at the elementary and high school have gone well. WVSD would like to “Thank” the Yalobusha County supervisors for re-surfacing the elementary parking lot and the area near the junior high school/central office. The QSCB Project has been completed at the high school/junior high. We have been pleased with the quality of work and the schedule in which it was completed. Also, the sewage project with Hoskins’ Mid-South Plumbing has been completed at the high school gymnasium.
Thursday night we would like to invite the public out to the Water Valley Football Field to meet the 2011 Football Team, High School Band, and High School Cheerleaders. The Water Valley Football team will be playing in Vardaman, MS this Friday night in a pre-season jamboree.
We are looking for a great 2011-2012 school year, academically and athletically. We will continue to focus on student achievement and strive to develop a culture and climate that will allow students to succeed.