The Yazoo City Municipal School District has been given four goals from the state to improve its failing status.
But some city leaders said it is time to “stop blaming the children” and look at the district’s salary scale and lack of certified teachers.
“How far do we go blaming our children,” asked Mayor Diane Delaware. “The school system is in trouble. You are teaching them on other grade levels knowing that you are going to give them these tests.”
Interim Superintendent Dr. Georgia Ingram admits there are some errors with grade-level instruction, with many students close to two grade levels behind where they are supposed to be.
“I am just telling you what I have discovered and what we are doing to rectify it,” Ingram told the city council.
Ingram returned to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week to give a quarterly update on the school district’s direction. She appeared before the board last October, with the announcement that the school district returned to its failing status.
Since then, Ingram said the district was required to meet with the Mississippi Department of Education to establish an improvement plan. Four goals were also given to the local district, including transformational leadership, instructional transformation, talent development and cultural shift.
Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. said the city sent the school district $30,000 on its last claims docket. Last week, an additional $219,000 was heading the district’s way as well.
“The concern with a lot of our citizens who want to support public education is that they see public education dollars going to salaries rather than moving these kids from one point to another point,” Brent said. “With the amount of money we spend on public education in Yazoo City, we need to do so much better in terms of our student achievement.”
Brent added that the lack of certified teachers is a large reason for the district’s struggle.
“Payroll is only ten percent of our budget,” Ingram said.
“I don’t believe your payroll is only ten percent,” Delaware replied. “I really don’t. If it is, then that is your problem. It should be 30 to 40 percent. I don’t understand this so I am not going to get into this. If that is true, you are spending money on some stuff you don’t need to spend it on.”
The city council noted that the last time the state reviewed the district’s financials, 89 percent was salary-based.