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School Inks Deal With C-Spire To Lease Land For Cell Tower


By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The school district will make around $30,000 over a five-year period leasing a small parcel of land for a cell tower near the high school.
C-Spire officials contacted Superintendent Kim Chrestman with a request to lease a 100’ by 100’ area east of the school district office.
As Chrestman described the approximate location to school board trustees at their meeting Jan. 22, trustee Taylor Trusty asked, “Where exactly? I want to make sure we own the property.”
His comment drew the biggest laugh of the evening as board members recalled past problems with property ownership, specifically the city-owned ball field behind the high school.
“Actually, it would be more fun to lease the city’s property,” Trusty continued.
On a more serious note, Trustee Casey Washington asked if the tower would meet the city’s zoning ordinances.
Chrestman responded, “They will research it and make sure they meet all those codes.”
He noted that if and when the tower is no longer used, C-Spire would restore the property to its original state.
Board members suggested that the district’s attorney review the contract. However, because of the speed at which cell companies operate, trustee Pierce Epes made a motion to accept C-Spire’s request pending the attorney’s approval of the contract. All voted for the motion.
Among other actions at the January meeting, trustees:
• Elected Lamar Burgess to serve another term as board president. Taylor Trusty was elected vice-president and Casey Washington as secretary.
• Modified the credit recovery guidelines.
• Approved the duel enrollment program.
• Approved the district’s strategic plan.
• Accepted the Communicare service agreement with a new day treatment option.
• Paid claims.
• Received a financial report from District Business Manager Randy Goodwin, who said that the fund balance in district maintenance was $1.527,121.35 as of Dec. 31.
• Heard the superintendent’s report from Chrestman, who told school board members that the WVHS Future Problem Solving Team received a bronze designation in the qualifying round for the state competition. The local group came in third behind Nettleton and Madison Central.
“We are so proud of our four girls and the work they have put into this,” Chrestman said.  “Water Valley will compete in the Affiliate Bowl at MUW on Feb. 21-22.  Team members are Tyler and Shade Epes, Callie Trusty, and Anna Williamson.”
The full text of the report is below.
• Entered executive session at 7:55 p.m. after meeting for one hour and 25 minutes.


Superintendent’s Report
By Kim Chrestman

Jan. 22, 2013

Water Valley will host the District Spelling Bee January 28, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at Davidson Elementary School in the music room.  There will be 6 students in the Spelling Bee, the top 3 winners from Water Valley and the top 3 winners from Coffeeville.  The winner will go to the Mid-South Spelling Bee in March.

Water Valley High School’s Future Problem Solving Team received a Bronze designation in the Qualifying Round for the Affiliate Bowl (the state competition)!!
From our state, only 8 teams in the senior division made it to the state competition and the Water Valley Team came in third.  First was Nettleton (the program director’s school) and Madison Central was second.  All of the other five teams that qualified came from Madison Central and Nettleton.  We are SO proud of our four girls and the work they have put into this!  Water Valley will compete in the Affiliate Bowl at MUW on February 21-22.  Team members are Tyler and Shade Epes, Callie Trusty, and Anna Williamson.

Water Valley School District has set a Goal of 96.5% Attendance Rate for students.  After months 1-4, Davidson Elementary is at 96.27%, Water Valley High School is at 94.32%, and the Water Valley School District is at 95.41%.

Also, Water Valley School District has a Goal of 96.5% Attendance Rate for teachers. After months 1-4, Davidson Elementary is at 95.9%, Water Valley High School is at 95.6%, and the Water Valley School District is at 95.73%.

Education in Mississippi

There is a misconception that schools in the United States, and particularly in Mississippi, have not improved in recent years. In fact, schools in the U.S. have made steady improvement, and Mississippi’s improvement in student achievement has outpaced the national average.  A recent Harvard study ranked Mississippi 13th in the nation in improvement in student achievement. The study found that Mississippi’s national test scores improved at an annual rate of 2.54% compared to the U.S. average of 1.6%.

Governor Bryant has announced his recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the budget that will be decided in the coming legislative session. His recommendation includes level funding for the MAEP, which would under-fund schools by over $300-million. This would make it virtually impossible for the lieutenant governor and many legislators to reach their stated goal of returning to full funding by 2014.

On Wednesday morning, January 15, 2013, the Senate Education Committee passed a charter school bill that allows charter schools in every district in the state. It also allows for-profit corporations to run charter schools and does not include a requirement that charters may only be granted to applicants who have a proven record of success.
The bill provides for charter schools in C, D, and F districts without local school board approval, and allows charters in A and B districts with local board approval. The good news is that the committee approved an amendment offered by Sen. David Blount to strike virtual charter schools from the bill.

House bill 486 was introduced by Brad Mayo, Representative from Lafayette County.  It says “All new hires who participate in PERS will go into a defined contribution program (401 K).  We now have a defined benefit program, not a defined contribution program.

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