Published 12:00 am Friday, May 23, 2008
By Jason C. Mattox and Billy Davis
North Panola’s state-appointed conservator Tuesday attended his first monthly meeting of school district trustees, where he laid ground rules about conducting the business of the school district.
Strebeck was appointed by the state Board of Education in April and began his job on May 6.
Noticeably absent from the school board meeting was outgoing Superintendent Lucinda Carter.
Following the meeting, this newspaper learned that Carter was no longer with the district.
“She had submitted her letter of resignation effective for the end of June, but she decided to leave the position early,” Strebeck told The Panolian.
Strebeck informed the smaller-than-usual crowd, gathered in the North Panola High library, that the board would conduct the business of the district during the meeting.
Strebeck said he intended to allow the existing board to continue without changes but added that he “will not hesitate to enact the conservator rule if I have to.”
The “conservator rule” refers to current state law that allows a state-appointed conservator to reorganize a school district, which could include removing a board of trustees at the conservator’s discretion.
“This board will meet once a month during the regularly scheduled meeting, and the members will be expected to perform the jobs they were elected to do,” he said.
“I am not aware of what you have done at prior board meetings, but it will be carried out properly,” he said. “This board meeting is not a public forum. I am going to ask you to continue to attend the meetings if you would like.”
“The bottom line is that this board meeting with be run properly,” the conservator continued.
Strebeck told the audience that anyone wishing to address the board would be allowed to do so, if they followed proper procedure.
The procedure was then outlined as follows:
•Submit request to Strebeck no fewer than seven days prior to a regularly scheduled meeting.
•List a specific topic on which you wish to address the board.
“You will then be placed on the agenda and your time to speak to the board will be limited,” he said. “These meetings will be held in a manner where the board conducts its business and leaves.”
Strebeck said he would hold public forums in the communities that make up the North Panola School District but did not describe any future dates or times.
“During those meetings, you can voice all of your concerns,” he said. “We will alert the media to get the word out when we schedule the forums.”
In a subsequent interview with The Panolian, Strebeck said he planned to hold those meetings in Sardis, Como and Crenshaw.