Headlines – 6/24/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Panolian Headlines: June 24, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 6/24/03  issue of The Panolian

Public Silent on Tax Hike Plan
Citizens Stay Away from SPSD Hearing
The South Panola School District Board of Trustees met Friday at a lunch meeting to discuss a needed increase in the district’s budget. Director of Finance and Purchasing Bob Norris (left) detailed the proposal, which calls for a tax increase, as board attorney Colmon Mitchell made notes on the topic.

No citizens came forward during a public hearing either in support of or against a tax increase South Panola School District trustees say is needed.

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As a matter of fact, no citizens attended the meeting last week.

And, it’s expected the board will approve the tax when it meets this Friday.

"I think this speaks well about the people in the district and their support of what we are attempting to do in the district," Superintendent Dr. C.L. Stevenson said during the meeting after no one came forward.

At that meeting, district director of finance and purchasing Bob Norris told trustees the increase sought is basically the same request sent to the Panola County Board of Supervisors every year.
"We make a request for ad volorem tax funds every year," Norris said. "We make a request to them in a dollar amount, and they set a millage rate accordingly."

Norris said the total in tax funds needed from the county is $4,772,318.

"That is based on the last tax records we received, so the amount will probably go down," he said.

Stevenson said it is important to stress that the school district is debt-free.

"The only thing the district has as debt are shortfalls from the budget cuts," he said. "And the county pays them (the shortfalls) back at a total of one-third the amount per year."

Roads Cover Lots of Miles in County

If you’ve ever wondered … now you have the answer. There are 845.88 miles of roads in Panola County.

That statistic came out of the Panola County Board of Supervisors Monday meeting where roads were one of the few topics discussed.

Panola County Road Manager Lygunnah Bean, at the request of Supervisor Jessie Lyons, presented the board with the mileage report for both paved and gravel roads.

"This is not entirely accurate," Bean said of the 845.88 miles. "But it is as close to accurate as (County Administrator) David (Chandler) and I could come up with."

"Approximately 43 percent of those roads are paved," Bean said. "And that number will increase as the paving season continues."
According to the report, District Three has the most paved road with an estimated 130 miles.
"I realize some of these numbers may have changed because of the new district lines," Bean said. "So I am asking you to make notes and let me know what changes need to be made so we can come up with some [more] accurate figures."



Panola County Part of DUI Crackdown
Extra Funds, Troopers Fuel New Program
Mississippi Highway Patrol Staff Sgt. Scott Swanson, at podium, gives details Monday about the state’s new campaign to get drunk and drinking drivers off the road. Behind him are, from left, Capt. Roosevelt Howard, Staff Sgt. Terry Mills, Lt. Andy Shackleford, Master Sgt. Jamie Caldwell and Master Sgt. Tom Burke.
Don’t even think about drinking and driving in Panola County and the surrounding area because the odds are good you’ll go to jail.

That’s because extra effort – fueled by federal dollars and by troopers giving up days off – is being placed on ridding area highways of these high-risk drivers.

The high visibility campaign will be coupled with low tolerance and will run through July 6.

The program – You Drink, You Drive, You Lose – began Monday after it was announced at a press conference at the Mississippi Highway Patrol troop headquarters in Batesville.

The blitz also includes the counties of Tunica, DeSoto, Marshall and Lafayette, Staff Sgt. Scott Swanson said at the press conference.


SP District Hires Personnel Director

The South Panola School District has a new personnel director – Keith Shaffer, former superintendent of the Coahoma County School District.

His job becomes official on July 1.

Shaffer spoke briefly at the last board meeting, commenting on the South Panola football team and said, "a lot of positive things have put South Panola on the map." He is a Delta State graduate and received his doctorate there in 1996.

"I’m a lifelong resident of Coahoma County," Shaffer said.

In other business, Susan Vance, Pope Middle School principal was out of town and Supt. Dr. C.L. Stevenson presented her report in which she recommends a special education assistant be hired.

Batesville Elementary Principal Carolyn Graham said 33 kindergartners and 36 first graders did not have the skills required to be successful at the next grade level and were retained in that class for next year.

Four teachers will not be returning to BES and Graham said those positions had been filled.