A new public relations person will soon be on board for the Simpson County School District.
Arlicia Jordan comes with high recommendations from the University of Southern Mississippi, having served in a similar position in the office of the president at USM.
At the last meeting of the county school board, Human Resources Director Dr. Robert Sanders said the rate of pay for the new position has not been determined, but it was posted in the range of $37,500 to $48,000. Jordan’s qualifications must be rated before the rate of pay is determined.
The primary purpose of the position is to report the good news that is occurring in Simpson County Public Schools.
It was the consensus of the school board and district principals that distance learning is not working and those who are suffering most are the children, Magee Middle School principal Tracye Pierre said that lack of learning is impacting the children in a worse manner than they would be faced with if they contract Covid-19.
Board member Lillie Hardy said, “The goal is to teach the kids and it is not happening outside the classroom.” There is no comparison between classroom instruction versus virtual classrooms.
It was also stated that the younger children are more negatively affected because they have not had the opportunity to develop good study habits.
Superintendent Toriano Holloway reported to the board that overtime pay had become an issue for the district, but not in the big picture, only a couple of hundred thousand dollars. He said that going forward unless it was a dire emergency overtime would have to be pre-approved. The board discussed the district not using VOIP, voice over internet protocol. Currently the district is paying for expensive individual lines through AT&T.
It was determined that $328,000 in special education funds in the school system have not been used, but the district plans to utilize those funds.
The price of meals served in the schools has been increased 25 percent for breakfast and 38 percent for lunch meals.
Dr. Deidre Randall, assistant superintendent for District Curriculum, discussed the school remediation program. This will be available Oct. 5-8 and allow students who need additional instruction to get that help. Remediation days will coincide with fall break. Students who have a “C” or above average will not be required to attend. However, if students have a lower grade it is suggested they attend the additional remediation.
Currently of the 3,200 students enrolled in the county’s public schools, 1,548 students are being recommended for remediation. That means almost 50 percent of the student population will need remediation.
During remediation time the teacher-student ratio should not exceed ten students to one teacher. A second remediation period is also set for the spring semester.
Joanna Maddox, director of finance, reported that the 2019 audit is nearing completion, hopefully by the end of September, which will allow the 2020 audit to proceed to the point that the district will have an idea as to the true financial picture for the district.
Insurance Associates received the bid for Workman’s Comp for the school district over Southgroup. The bid was through the company State Auto and is $9,000 less expensive, but it also covers contractors who do business with the county but may not carry
Workman’s Compensation. In that case the district would be liable if someone were injured while doing work for the district.
The board discussed the legitimate reasons for allowing students to leave the school district. The board does not favor doing this because federal funding for that student follows the student to the district they attend.
The board approved additional supplements for Terrel Luckey, Dr. Bo Huffman and Dedra Clark Allen. Luckey will serve in the role of drop out prevention person for the district. Huffman will be the county-wide athletic director for the district, and Allen will be interim assistant director of Special Education. Cindy Albritton will move into the assistant interim principal’s position at Magee (no school specified) with an additional supplement.