BOE hears reports, concerns

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Board of Education heard a positive financial report during its meeting on Feb. 19.

Chief School Financial Officer LaVerne Williams said the school system had received 38 percent of its revenue, which was more than the expected 33 percent for this point in the fiscal year. Expenditures are right where they should be at 33 percent.

“Our financials look really good,” Williams said.

The board unanimously approved a number of athletic related requests as well as summer workers. Board member Lori Patterson was absent.

Unanimous approval was also given for Software 300 camera base. In an interview, Safe Schools director Mickey Hardwick said the software will give local law enforcement access to the school’s surveillance cameras, which could be especially helpful in an active shooter situation.

The software will be purchased for $46,000 from funding received from the state specifically for Safe Schools initiatives.

The Chilton County Board of Education also heard a number of concerns from community members on the agenda.

First up was Kenny Martin, student pastor at West End Baptist Church, asking board members to encourage athletic directors to avoid scheduling games on Wednesday, so students who wish to do so can attend youth services at local churches.

“This is the time that we have to reach more students than any other time of the week,” Martin said, comparing Wednesday services for youth to Sunday services for adults.

Athletic events are prohibited on Sunday by the state high school athletic association.

“I understand that you as a board cannot mandate that Wednesday nights be off limits because of the separation of church and state,” Martin said. “We are not asking for that.”

Instead, Martin proposed “encouragement not just from parents but from the board members and the superintendent that this day could be a day set aside” with no games and shorter practices.

Amanda Lovett expressed concern that guidelines used to determine who can try out for cheerleaders are separate from the student handbook and holds them to a higher standard than other student athletes.

She said even after a student has paid the consequences for their action through multiple detentions or three days at Pass Academy that student is disqualified from trying out in the next semester.

“This tryout guidelines come off to me as very punitive made to punish children for prior transgressions and not at all to protect the integrity of a cheerleader,” Lovett said.

She asked that every extracurricular activity “adhere to the qualification guidelines that are already listed in the county handbook.”

Those scheduled to speak were asked to keep comments to five minutes and keep from mentioning names of those who may be involved.

One community member said names would have to be mentioned, so the Board went into executive session based on the “good name and character” clause allowing them to do so.

Also during the meeting:

  • A recommendation for Head Start Jemison died for lack of a motion.
  • The Verbena girls basketball team and all of the school system’s counselors were recognized.
  • The Board approved a memorandum of understanding with Shelby Mental Health to provide a counselor for the school system through funds from a grant.
  • The Board approved a memorandum of understanding to allow Mississippi State students to complete their student teaching in Chilton County Schools.
  • The Board moved the April meeting to April 23 at 6 p.m. at Thorsby High School.
  • The Board moved the May meeting to May 28. This meeting will be held at the

Chilton County Board of Education office on Lay Dam Road.