Racial balance became an issue during Tuesday's Yazoo County School Board meeting.
During a discussion of certified personnel, Trustee Larry Walls took issue with the lack of minority representation among the county school district's administrators.
Charging that black students make-up 75 percent of the county school district's student enrollment, Walls said “we're getting a lot of feedback from students” about the low number of black administrators.
“We're looking over some of our minority people,” he said, adding that Dr. Shundria Shaffer “is the only (black) principal in our schools.”
Walls, who is black, said black administrators should be hired due to their ability to “relate to our kids.”
According to Mississippi Department of Education demographics, blacks made up 51.3 percent of the Yazoo County School District's student population during the 2015-2016 school year. Whites made up 43.36 percent of the district's total student population of 1612 that same year.
The percentages of black students have declined in recent years with 55 percent black and 43 percent white in the 2003-2004 school year; 52 percent black and 47 percent white in the 2007-2008 school year, and 51 percent black and 46 percent white in the 2012-2013 school year.
Gloria Jamison, the former black principal of the Yazoo County Middle School, was elevated to administrative assistant superintendent this year. The only other administrative assistant superintendent is also black. Additionally, the district's food service director is black, there are two black assistant principals at Bentonia-Gibbs Elementary School and the lead teacher at Linwood Elementary School is black.
“There should be some (black candidates) in our district who could help fill some of these (administrative) positions,” he continued.
Superintendent Becky Fisher and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tom Taylor cited several instances where administrative offers to black individuals were declined.
“If just want to be fair; to do the right thing,” Walls said.
“We definitely try and we try hard,” Taylor replied. “You can't put a person who's not qualified (in an administrative position).
“That's true, but we put these people (in the classroom)who are not certified to teach (because) they can't pass the test,” Walls said. “It ain't no difference.”
“We do have a law in place for them,” Taylor responded.
School board President Greg Moseley, who is also black, said the administrative staff should reflect the make-up of the school district.
“As a board, we are obligated to express our opinion (and) what our constituents want, what the people want ” Moseley said. “If we don't say something, it would be like the board not speaking up. Don't take this the wrong way. We're not saying that nobody's doing anything, but we just wanted to be known that the board has noticed this and we are voicing our opinion.”
No school board action was taken following the discussion.
In other school board business, the trustees:
• Elected Walls to serve as board secretary to fill the unexpired term of former Trustee John Newton.
• Were told that the next school board meeting will be Aug. 4.
• Approved the updated 2016-1017 school calendar.
• Approved certified employees for school year 2016-2017.
• Approved long term substitutes.
• Approved the salary increase of the school nurse.