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Board awards bid to complete work at Loyd Star school

The Lincoln County School District Board of Trustees Mondayawarded the contract for the final phase of building improvementsat Loyd Star Attendance Center.

A $857,900 bid was awarded to Paul Jackson and Son forconstruction of two new science labs and a six-classroom additionfor the high school. Jackson’s bid was the lowest of three receivedand less than $2,000 below the second-lowest bidder.

“We’re excited about being able to finish the Loyd Star buildingproject,” said Superintendent Perry Miller following the meeting.”It’s been a long time in coming.”

Miller said the final phase of the project was expected to startsometime in September.

In other building matters, Miller said several school buildingroofs are in need of repair. He mentioned Bogue Chitto’s gym and abuilding at Loyd Star.

“We don’t know where we’re going to get the money, but it’s gotto be done,” Miller said.

School board members agreed and discussed, but did not act on,the possibility of taking out a bank loan for the work. Miller saidhe hoped to be able to act on getting the work done in three tofour months.

Also during Monday’s meeting, trustees approved the district’samended budget for the 1999-2000 school year. The amended budget isneeded to reflect actual revenue and expenditures during the year,Miller said.

“We went a little over in expenses, but it was mostly buildingprojects,” said Janet Smith, district financial director.

Revenue for last year totaled $14.1 million and expendituresequaled $16.1 million. School officials said funds were availableto cover the difference, but they were just not budgeted.

Prior to last night’s meeting, Miller presented school boardmembers with proposed statement regarding prayer over the publicaddress system. Miller indicated the statement could be read beforefootball games and other school activities.

The statement refers to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling thatprayer over a public address system is unconstitutional. Members ofthe school board disagree with the ruling, but will follow the law,the statement says.

“The members of school board want to emphasize that the court’sruling in no way diminishes the right of a student or students topray in school or exercise their religious rights in school,” thestatement says.

The statement goes on to say that the school board encouragesstudents to exercise their constitutional rights, including thoserelated to religion, at school.

School board members Monday expressed their disappointment withthe court ruling.

“I don’t like it, but it’s not much you can do about it,” saidRandall Lofton.

Miller agreed. However, he said the district’s policy onreligion should be neutral and school officials should set anexample by following the law.

“I don’t think we should be teaching our kids to willfullydisobey the law,” Miller said.

Miller said school board members could review the proposedstatement and suggest changes at the next board meeting. The nextmeeting is scheduled for Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the district’scentral office.