By JOEL McNEECE
A new GED program, student transfers and a long list of personnel moves were the biggest items approved at Monday's meeting of the Calhoun County School Board.
The board voted unanimously to implement a GED Option Program for the school district. This will allow students who are not on track to earn a degree to remain in school and shift into the GED program to prevent them from dropping out.
"This is one of the best things we've done yet," Superintendent Mike Moore said.
Margaret Mays was hired to lead the program, which can have up to 15 students at a time.
Moore explained the school district gets credit for these students still being in school and it doesn't impact the district's drop-out rate. He explained it also gives these students the opportunity to move forward with their education or in a trade on the same time schedule as other students.
"We might can pull students off the street that dropped out last year," Moore said. "I think you'll see by end of this year, this will be a remarkable program."
Among the student transfers on the agenda were Santana and Savana Powell seeking to transfer from Vardaman to Calhoun City. Superintendent Mike Moore said they have attended school at Vardaman, but want to attend Calhoun City High School so they can participate in band. Vardaman doesn't have a band program.
Moore explained the students lost their mother recently and are now living with their grandmother in the Calhoun City district, but their father is their legal guardian and he lives in the Vardaman district.
The board recently forbid the use of affidavits as a source of residency and now require students to attend school in the district in which their legal guardian lives.
"Unless you want to see these every single month, we need to make sure there's a really good reason to transfer anywhere," Moore told the board.
The board voted unanimously to support the current policy and require that the legal guardianship take precedent.
Several other out of district transfers were approved by the board – Caleb and Micah Butler from Chickasaw to Calhoun; Dusty Lee Blount from Calhoun to Pontotoc; Cody Lane Sansing from Calhoun to Houston – but Moore explained these transfers were grandfathered in when the new policy was adopted.
"These aren't new transfers," Moore said.
The board voted unanimously to approve a long list of personnel moves:
Stephanie Lucius transferred into position vacated by Gretta Morgan; Josh Hegwood transferred into position vacated by Lucius; Josh Miller transferred into position vacated by Hegwood; Kristy Tindall transferred into position vacated by Miller; Kayla Long transferred into position vacated by Tindall;
Juliette Long hired as teacher assistant replacing Long; Lacey Bailey hired as teacher assistant in newly created position at VES; Sarah-Gant Holleman hired as assistant teacher in newly created position at Calhoun City; Alayna Keeton hired as language/speech aide for newly created position at BES; Latarsha Shaw-Vance hired as temporary SpEd aide;
TIF grant supplements approved for "Mentor Teachers" Pam Odom and Niki Necaise ($2,500); "Professional Development Coordinator" Suzanne Parker ($3,000); and "Master Teacher" Julia Aron.
Substitutes hired – Kris Hathorne, Pauline Crofford and Janice Vaughn at BES; Terri Davis at BUES; Freddie Davis at CCMS; Melissa Bright, Michael Bishop and Jackie McKinney at VES;
Rebecca Wright hired as bus driver replacing Larry Blackwelder; Jimmy Cole hired as bus driver replacing Lee Warren; James Vaughn hired as substitute bus driver; Kelly Lindley and Cathy Blackwelder hired as substitute bus aides;
Rebecca Wright hired as custodian replacing Kendrick Armstrong; Lawanda Shaefer hired as substitute cafeteria worker; Jeremy Brannon and Aubrey Edwards hired as student workers.
Other items approved by the board:
•Ad valorem tax request for supervisors.
•Advertise for transportation supplies.
•Bruce High School Band Handbook.
•CCMS to enter contract with Addy Photography.
•CCHS to use Walsworth Publishing Company for yearbook.
•CCHS to participate in NFHS licensing program endorsed by MHSAA.
•Shelia Herrod addressed the board concerning the honor roll policy. She explained her grandson never missed being on the honor roll until last year when his lowest grade was an 88.
The policy last year was that no grade could be below a 90 to qualify for the honor roll. The board explained that policy has been modified and now the student just has to have an overall average of at least 90 to qualify.
•Agreement between school district and Marcus Thomas for transporting IEP student for out-of-district services. Transportation costs will be paid using state approved rates.
•Agreement between school district and Delta Rehab for PT/OT services.
•Superintendent Moore said the school district recently received a "clean audit" from its use of $2.5 million in "stimulus" money over the past few years. He said the bulk of those funds were used to "save jobs."