Headlines Cont. – 12/23/2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 23, 2005

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – December 23, 2005


SP district considers counseling agreement
By Rupert Howell

School board members tentatively agreed to enter a counseling service with Tri-Lakes Behavioral Center for students needing those services within the district schools.

District school trustees approved the process pending an agreement acceptable to the district and Tri-Lakes.

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School board attorney Colmon Mitchell was directed to study the agreement proposed by Tri-Lakes and bring it back before the board with his recommendations.

According to the Tri-Lakes proposal, adolescents demonstrating behavioral problems would benefit from the program. They would receive 45 minute sessions with a social worker with Medicaid, and private insurance companies being billed for services.

The school district would only be responsible for providing a location for the individual sessions.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer explained that South Panola’s role would be limited to guidance counselors notifying parents that the services were available and providing space.


Other Business:
Trustees agreed to meet early for the January 17, 2006 monthly meeting to evaluate Superintendent Shaffer after his first six months on the job.
     The evaluation was scheduled at the request of Board President Lygunnah Bean who suggested that Shaffer be evaluated from requirements from which he was hired.
     Bean explained that results of the evaluation would be put to use as an action plan for the superintendent to follow for the coming year.
Attorney Mitchell reported a positive response from the U. S. Department of Justice concerning a plan that redistricts the sub-districts from which the trustees are elected. Mitchell said the plan has yet to gain final approval.
A change order increasing the total of the Junior High School roofing project to $697,410 from $694,210;  
Approved employment of MSGT, Dorothy Lamar-Atmaran for the ROTC program. She will replace retiring Sgt. John Sims;
Approved John Sherman as fast pitch softball coach with an additional $1,500 in salary;
Approved three terminations and three resignations of non-professional personnel;
Accepted recommendations of employment of five non-professional employees as well as a list of substitute cafeteria workers from food service administrator Lynn T. Dye.
Financial advisor removed from North Panola
By Jason C. Mattox

The North Panola School District Board of Trustees was given good news from its president, Cecil Dowden, during Monday night’s meeting – the Mississippi Department of Education has removed Diane Day from her post as financial advisor.

A financial advisor was assigned to the district more than 10 years ago by the Mississippi Department of Education when the school was operating in the red.

"We are pleased to report that the district is now $3 million in the black," Dowden said. "We have been very frugal with your money. There are probably some teachers that are angry with us."

Dowden said the district’s financial department will be turned over to Levette Upshaw on Day’s final day with the district on Dec. 30.

Following a few minutes of applause from community members in attendance, Dowden said he was proud of what the district accomplished.

"We finally did it," he said. "It took a long time, but we finally got over the hump. This accomplishment is a testament to what can happen when everyone works together."

Dowden said the district will now continue focusing on becoming the best it can.

"We are going to get better," he said. "Every school in the district will get better.

"We will have level five schools in this district, or we will die trying," Dowden continued.

"That is our challenge to the principals," he said. "We want level fives, not level four, not level three. We want, and will have level five schools."

Massey resigns superintendent post at North Panola
By Jason C. Mattox

The process of terminating Superintendent Robert Massey ended for the North Panola School District Board of Trustees Monday night when they accepted his letter of resignation.

Massey had been scheduled for a termination hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

"Upon receiving the voluntary resignation from Massey, there was no reason to move forward with the scheduled hearing," board attorney Alix Sanders of Greenwood said.

Massey had been on administrative leave, without pay, since Monday, September 26.

Massey was first given the opportunity to resign during a meeting on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Following that meeting, Sanders said he could not speak about the exact reasons for beginning the termination process, but said the request for termination was spawned from concerns about the handling of federal money.

Massey had served in the district’s highest post for two years and had three years remaining on his contract.

Sanders said a settlement was reached between the board of trustees and Massey that helped encourage the resignation although he would not disclose the terms of the settlement.

"The settlement is confidential and does not allow making the terms public," he said.

Interim superintendent Glendora Dugger will continue to handle the day-to-day operations of the district.

"Mrs. Dugger is still in charge of the district," board president Cecil Dowden said. "So keep giving her your respect. We might have a decision about the superintendent’s office at the next meeting."

The January meeting date for the North Panola School District Board of Trustees will be Monday, Jan. 23.

In other matters before the board:
Pam George was given permission to advertise for bids on a dishwasher for the North Panola High School.
North Panola High School principal Lucinda Carter was granted a salary adjustment in the amount of $2,604.09 to cover monthly utilities. The district owns the principal’s residence.
Board members approved May 26 as a make-up day for time missed due to Hurricane Katrina. Students will have early release on that date.
Personnel recommendations from Dugger were accepted. Randy Robinson was hired as a basketball security guard at $40 per game and Lydia Smith and Rebecca Floyd were hired as tutors at $20 per hour
Michael Wilson was approved as safety inspector for the district at no salary. The district will pay mileage.
 Trustees voted to accept seven donated printers from Lexmark. One printer will be placed in each school in the district.


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