SP School Board adjusts calendar for snow days in first meeting of year
By Myra Bean
The South Panola School Board met Tuesday night for the first time this year for an hour-and-a-half. That included a 30-minute executive session in which no action was taken.
The agenda said the executive session was for Superintendent Tim Wilder’s evaluation.
Before then the board had an extensive agenda before them including election of new officers, approval of the revised school calendar and approval of the financial docket.
Sandra Darby was re-elected president; Jerry Cooley, vice president and Leigh Taylor Unruh, secretary. Board members are Kenny Hopper and Lygunnah Bean.
Kenny Hopper was recognized after his re-election to the board, as he ran unopposed, though a few jokes abounded about how tough of a race he had.
Next board meeting will be Thursday, February 15 instead of February 29.
The school calendar has been revised to reflect days the district has to make up for three snow days.
The school district will now be open President’s Day February 19 and the Monday after Easter, April 2. Also, there is one day added at the end of the school year, May 29 for students and May 30 for teachers, are the last days of school.
Those days will not affect seniors, according to Wilder.
21st Century After School
Wilder updated the board on the 21st Century after school tutoring session that will start Feb. 5 with retired teacher/principal Carolyn Graham as the project director. The program will be three days a week and buses will take students home. The board approved the personnel for the program.
There were some building projects which were updated by Wilder. The elementary school still has leaks but they are seeing progress in getting those resolved, according to Wilder.
The elementary P.E. building is also moving a positive direction with fence and pavement placement.
Wilder took the board through his “wish list” of proposed projects which included a football field house, soccer fieldhouse, baseball/softball weight rooms, track resurface, Jr. High gym air conditioning, fire alarm and boiler, intermediate school and Pope parking lot paving and intermediate school windows.
“All these are very much needed,” Wilder said. “However, you will see the plans and the bids before you approve any of these projects.”
Wilder did ask the board to approve several items that got the process started resolutions like having funds, hiring architect and legal counsel.
Jim Young and his firm were approved as legal counsel and municipal advisor to assist with proposed finance issues and other matters. He worked with South Panola on ninth grade building and was approved unanimously.
Approval for funding of projects with a 3 mil note was approved for capital projects. Three mil brings in about half a million dollars per year over maximize it for over 20 years. Since the district has one rolling off this spring, they can only maximize it up to 15 years. This resolution to borrow up to $3.5 million.
According to Wilder, this will not raise the current school tax, just extend it until 2033. On May 1 the last payment on that current 3 mil for the high school will be paid, district finance officer David Rubenstein said.
Capital lease will allow the school district not to be able to assess or levy to the taxpayer but to pay with their operation funds. The district will borrow $2 to $2.3 million over 10 years.
All funds have to be spent on facilities and buses but not on personnel, day-to-day operations or supplies.
The district was approved to create a restricted debt service and construction fund. It is setting aside a fund to pay for future capital improvements facilities if approved. Shortfall funds left over were approved to be transferred to this fund.
Gary Bailey was approved as the architect for the facilities’ plan.
The only facility Wilder asked the board to approve was the soccer fieldhouse which will be built on the Highway 51 South side of the football field. It will be on the visitor side on the north end.
One bid was received from Tri-Star Companies which was approved for $431,538 for 38 units across the district.
Tidwell Electric was approved for the Lighting project at Batesville Middle Shool for $298,000.