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State board plans meeting at arts school

State education policy will be set in Brookhaven this week whenthe Mississippi State Board of Education meets on the campus of theMississippi School of the Arts.

Caron Blanton, director of communications for the board, said itgenerally meets outside of Jackson once a year, and this week’smeeting will be the first to be held at MSA.

Blanton said she could not remember the last time the board metin Brookhaven, but she indicated it had been quite some time. MSAofficials are looking forward to the visit.

“They were scheduled to come here last year, but (Hurricane)Katrina changed that,” said Dr. Vicki Bodenhammer, MSA’s executivedirector. “It will be the first time any of the members, other than(State Superintendent of Education) Dr. (Hank M.) Bounds, has beenon campus.”

The board will meet Wednesday afternoon in retreat in theJohnson Institute. Public meetings will be held Thursday at 10 a.m.and at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium.

“The work is really all done on Thursday, but the official legalaction is done on Friday,” Bodenhammer said.

MSA has one item on the board’s agenda, Blanton said. Membersare expected to discuss whether to issue a contract hiring anothertheatre and dance instructor for the school.

Other items on the agenda include discussions on whether tocontinue the board’s declaration of a State of Emergency forHurricane Katrina, the establishment of a calculation process forstate and school level dropout and graduation rates and a revisionof the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards manual,among others.

During the visit, the board will receive a presentation of thecampus’ history and its present and future goals.

“They will be given tours of the campus by our Arts Ambassadors,a group of citizens who have been chosen to represent the school,”Bodenhammer said. “They’ve actually been studying this week to makesure they know it all” in order to be able to answer anticipatedquestions.

The board’s evening meals are being hosted by two Brookhavenfamilies. The MSA Foundation is sponsoring a meal at the home ofCarlene Stribling on Wednesday. That meal will also includerepresentatives from various local organizations and supporters ofthe school. Thursday evening, the board will dine at the home ofBrookhaven School Board Chairman Carl Aycock and his wife,Susan.

The board will also attend a Thursday slide lecture at 1 p.m.being presented in Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium by renownedMississippi artist William Dunlap.