North Panola School Board 9/22/15

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chairman’s gavel signals ‘time’s up’ for comments

By Rupert Howell

North Panola School Board President Chris Fairlee reminded trustees and others gathered for the monthly meeting Thursday night that the current board would abide by rules and criteria set forth by state law in order to remain in compliance following the public comment section Thursday night. 

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Fairlee’s comment came after Julius Harris took exception to the board president striking his gavel when Harris continued to talk after being warned that he was over the three-minute time limit.

Although North Panola policy doesn’t require citizens to get on the agenda to speak during the public comment section, board policy limits comments to three minutes per person.

Harris often comes to the school district’s board meetings and uses the comment session to air concerns, perceived shortcomings and to make notice of coming events of interests. He is also an elected commissioner of Panola County’s Board of Election Commissioners and active in local elections.

On Thursday his comments concerned trimming trees and bushes at Como Elementary School and the parking area and an unattractive mound of dirt at Crenshaw.

Harris also commented on school staff moving to an unmarked building stating, “(There is) no kind of label to know where you should be . . .”

Harris said he had another comment but he wouldn’t make it after he was “gaveled.”

The district has twice been under conservatorship and Fairlee explained his actions were made to emphasize the board would follow the regulations recommended then adopted earlier by trustees.