NP Schools

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

Rotten lines added to NP renovations

By Billy Davis

North Panola Schools conservator Robert King alluded to the school district’s status Monday, telling trustees that his goal is to “work my way out of a job” by leading the effort to improve the district.

The Mississippi Department of Education took over the school district in 2008, when struggling student achievement triggered the takeover.

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King, who is retired from the Oxford school district, became the school district’s fourth conservator when he began work in April.

The conservator reported to trustees Monday that he has discovered some accreditation problems remain unfixed even after they were found some time ago by the Department of Education.

The lingering problems are being addressed by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kay Alford, he said.

Once the deficiencies are corrected, North Panola must ensure they remain fixed for two years in order to come out of its conservatorship, King said.

“The biggest hurdle is the test scores,” he said.

Students’ results from the most recent state test scores will begin arriving at the district office in July, said Jennifer Mock, testing and curriculum coordinator.

The results are embargoed by the Department of Education until September, she said.

King also announced that renovations planned at North Panola High will include replacing rotten water and sewer lines.

A central heat and air system, which will replace window units, is among the biggest improvements planned at the high school.  

A contractor will also renovate science labs at the high school and add public bathrooms to the gymnasium.

North Panola trustees have approved $2.2 million in school improvement bonds that were sought by former conservator Dr. Oscar Love.

Bathrooms at North Panola Junior High, located in Como, will also undergo major renovations from the bond monies.   

King said Monday the school district will advertise for bids later this summer with work beginning in the fall.  

“It’s outside the scope of the original work but it’s something that has to be done,” King told school district trustees.

King was indicating that replacement of the water and sewer lines will gobble up a portion of the bond monies, he later told The Panolian.

The conservator told trustees he was making a “walk through” at the high school with an architect when he noticed several bathroom stalls were out of order. That led to a discussion with maintenance staff about the deficient infrastructure at the school.

The school district will make temporary repairs before school begins in August. Then the lines will be dug up and replaced later in the year.

“It will be a messy renovation,” he said, since school will be in session while construction work is under way.

The school district will ask that most work be performed after school and on weekends, but students and faculty will still maneuver around ongoing work, the conservator said.   

The infrastructure improvements could have been pushed to next summer but that was considered “too far out,” King said.

Renovation of the science classes will wait until the high school dismisses for the summer in 2012, he said.