Apparently, there is a huge disconnect between members of two Yazoo County boards that's causing the annual budget-making process to be even more tedious.
While the Yazoo County School District Board of Trustees have been discussing the possibility of requesting a four percent increase in the 2017 fiscal budget, some observers are evidently confusing a four percent increase with a four mill increase. A four percent increase request would represent about $242,460, which is proposed by the school district, while a four mill increase would call for taxpayers to fork over about $1 million.
In last month's school budget hearing which was detailed in the June 4 issue of The Yazoo Herald, the school district officials proposed a four percent budget increase.
In Tuesday's meeting, the school board moved making any kind of decision on the proposed budget to 6 p.m. June 21, but some of the trustees voiced their opinions, indicating that the board was split on the matter of the four percent increase request.
“I'm certainly not going to vote to raise more taxes,” said Trustee Dewel Ladner.
Trustee Chastity Magyar agreed by saying, “I think we need to figure out how we can manage our money without asking for an increase.
Board President Greg Moseley countered with, “We asked for a four percent (revenue increase) last year and it didn't call for a tax increase.”
Superintendent Becky Fisher agreed. “It's absorbed by the money that's coming in, but that's totally up to y'all,” she said.
Referring to a proposed four percent increase in the 2017 budget, Trustee John Newton said, “There's nothing written in stone to say that anybody's taxes are going to increase.... I know my property taxes didn't go up (after last year's four percent increase).”
After pointing out that there was little public interest in the May 26 budget hearing as indicated by the poor attendance, Assistant Superintendent Tom Taylor said the school district has done “a great job of managing the finances in the face of federal cuts and state cuts.”
In other school board matters, the trustees:
Heard Brian K. Johnson, senior vice president of Bottrell Insurance Co. of Jackson, present his company's plan to provide coverage of the school district's properties. Following his presentation, the trustees approved using his company for the 2016-2017 school year. Johnson was the sole provider in attendance at the meeting.
Approved advertising for bids for hunting leases that expire Aug. 31. The hunting leases that will expire are for Township 9-Range 3W, Township 10-Range 2E, Township 10-Range 2W, and Township 10-Range 4W.
Awarded a bid for timber sales on Township 13N-Range 1W to Mike Touchstone.
Approved certified employees for the 2016-2017 school year, including Gloria Washington Jamison, principal of Yazoo County Middle School, who will become the federal programs director; Roxanne Woodberry Clay, federal programs director secretary; Donita Clay, lead teacher at Linwood Elementary School; Jerrice Owens, Spanish teacher at Yazoo County High School (YCHS); Dominique Jackson, CTE (Family/Consumer Science) at YCHS; Charles Dustin Letchworth, English teacher at YCHS; Sonya Landrum, Business Technology at YCHS; Gregory Pennington, Social Studies at YCHS; John C. Smith, Physical Science at YCHS; Phyllis Odum, Special Education teacher at YCHS; Brad Smothermon, math teacher at Yazoo County Middle School; Diane Searcy, Special Education teacher at Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School; Pamela Pickens, teacher at Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School; Monica Christmas, teacher at Linwood Elementary School; Adrian King, Special Education teacher at Linwood Elementary School; and Mackenzie Lowery, speech pathologist.
Non-certified employees approved were Regina Davis, MSIS clerk/secretary at YCHS; and Sherliterce Mullen, secretary/receptionist at Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School.
Approved the non-renewal of the vacant YCHS counselor position. Fisher explained that while another counselor at the high school is required, “we have worked with (the Mississippi Department of Education) to decide how we can pay for this counselor through (federal funds),” she said. “The way we can do it is to entitle this person 'graduation coach.' They will still be a counselor but they will be in charge of elevating the graduation rate and Title One federal funds will pay for it.”
Declined accepting a student from the Holmes County School District.
Approved the release of three students to the Madison County School District.
Approved the release of two students to the Jackson Public Schools.
Accepted the following donations: two $20 gift codes redeemable at Amazon.com from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for participation in the School Health Policies and Practices Study; a $300 donation to Yazoo County High School from the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors; a $1000 donation to Yazoo County High School's Beta Club from CF Industries; a donation of $2.48 from Target to Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School; and a $500 donation from CF Industries to go Linwood Elementary School for Mrs. Campbell's Gifted Trip.
Approved moving the Aug. 2 school board meeting to Aug. 4.
Approved out-of-state travel for the school board members to attend the Southern Regional Conference in New Orleans, La. July 31-Aug. 2.
Awarded a bid for the sale of lumber from the removal of YCHS gym bleachers to Yancey Ladner, who bid $100.
Gave approval for Warren-Yazoo Mental Health Service to provide day treatment during the summer and to the alternative school for 2016-2017. Fisher said the $35,000 fee had been waived.
Awarded the low bid submitted by Scott Petroleum for propane for the 2016-2017 school year.