After the final item on Tuesday evening's school board agenda had been considered, a Yazoo County School Board member announced his resignation.
About three years into his six-year term, Trustee John Newton, who currently serves as the board's secretary, said he is resigning due to his new employment.
“I have accepted a job with a new company that is requiring me to not be at home nearly as much, and I'm formally resigning (from the school board) as of today,” Newton told the board members, administrators and others present at the July 5 meeting.
Newton said he had accepted a job with a trucking company that will require extensive travel.
“Right now, I don't see how I can fit one monthly meeting a month in my schedule,” he added. “I've learned a wealth of knowledge and enjoyed working with all of y'all. It's in the best interest of my family right now for me to step down.”
Newton then recommended to the board that Patsy Burrough, former secretary to the district's superintendent of schools and school board clerk, replace him for the three remaining years of his term. He said her family resides in his board of trustees district.
Trustee Larry Walls took issue with his recommendation.
“I think Patsy is a good person, but you can't make that recommendation,” Walls said. “That's the board's decision. He can't do that.”
Trustee Dewel Ladner said, “He can make the recommendation.”
Board Attorney Barry Bridgforth said, by law, the school board could appoint someone within Newton's district to serve the remainder of his term.
“You don't have to appoint (someone); you can appoint,” Bridgforth said.
Bridgforth said that the trustees could elect a new secretary to replace Newton at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 19.
Contacted following Tuesday's school board meeting, Burrough said she has hoped for many years to be able to serve on the school board. She retired last month from the Yazoo County School District with 30 years of service. She said being on the school board had been a dream of hers for many years.
“With my 30 years of school experience, I feel like I'd be a real asset to the district,” Burrough said. “I feel like I would be one of the most qualified board members. I have a real interest in the school district.”
In addition to serving as secretary to the superintendent for about 20 years, Burrough has served as school board clerk for 15 years and was the district's MSIS contact.
“I have grandchildren, great nieces and great nephews that attend (school) in the district, so I'm concerned about which direction our district is headed,” she added.
In other school board business, the trustees:
Approved the 2016-2017 budget with no increase in local funding. According to Chief Financial Officer Lisa Worthy, the total budget is set at $18,996,244 with $6,589,668 coming from local sources. While Superintendent Becky Fisher had requested a four percent increase in local funding, the motion to increase the budget died for lack of a second in a meeting last month.
Granted permission to sublease 516.3 acres to Jesse Willis Jr. on Township 10 North-1 East.
Approved the bid of Todd Aultman, who bid $16 per acre on a 640-acre tract, or $10,240, for hunting lease on Township 9 North-3 West.
Opened bids for on a hunting lease on Township 10 North-2 East, from Kevin and Tim Mahaffey, who bid $46.10 per acre on 583 acres, or $26,876.30; and from Mitchell Saxton, who bid $48.10 on 583 acres, or $28,042.30. The bid was awarded to Saxton pending an offer to Mahaffey to match Saxton's bid.
Approved a bid of $17.25 per acre from the Silver Creek Hunting Partners, or $11,178 for hunting lease on Township 10 North-2 West, 648 acres.
On the hunting lease on Township 10 North-4 West, Perry Cox of Blackwater Break LLC bid $15 per acre on the 528-1/2 acre tract, or $7,927.50; William C. Breeland bid $21.55 or $11,389.75; and Mitchell Saxton bid $28.50 or $15,062.25. Taylor said with three or more bidders, a hunting section could go into an auction. All three bidders can participate in the auction. Saxton's bid was accepted subject the auction and the right to match. The bidding will begin at $28.51. Cox is the current lease holder.
Heard a Kimble Funchess, director of bands, express his appreciation to the trustees for their support of the band program. He reported that at the end of the second year of the band program, there were 74 students in the band. “We're proud to be able to say that we've been good stewards of the budget that we've had,” Funchess said. “Band does provide a lot of opportunities for our band students.” In addition to the band, Funchess said the school now has a guitar ensemble and a piano ensemble. A new feature of the band this year will be the marching band.
Heard CFO Lisa Worthy report that the district's “available, expendable” fund balance at the end of May was in excess of $3.8 million, which is up $344,000 at the same time last year. According to the budget status report, on June 30 there is a projected fund balance of $2.3 million. “It's not like we should be worried?” asked Trustee Chastity Magyar of the district's financial status. “We're going up; not down and that's a good thing,” Worthy responded.
Awarded the district's pest control business to Terminix, who bid $298 per month to service all buildings in the school district. Other bids were from Southland Pest Control who bid $340 per month, and Redd Pest Control who bid $650 per month.
Approved a school photography contract for 2016-2017 with N-Focus Photography.
Approved a district copier agreement which calls for replacing 10 copiers in the school district through a four-year rental agreement for $33,800.
Accepted a $3095 donation to Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School from the Integrated Academics for Dell Chromebooks, and a $50 Walmart gift card from Mississippi Recipes for Success Program to food services.