Bond money to fund BES window work

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brookhaven School District trustees Tuesday moved forward with a$1.6 million bond issue to fund capital improvements and otherneeds, and scheduled students and teachers to pay next semester forsome off days earlier this year due to Hurricane Gustav.

Bond issue revenue will go toward repairing and replacing allwindows at Brookhaven Elementary School and will also be used forschool bus purchases and other needed building-relatedprojects.

At an estimated $830,000, the BES project will take the biggestportion of the bond revenue. Superintendent Lea Barrett toldtrustees in August the BES building is under consideration forlandmark status by the Mississippi Department of Archives andHistory.

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The bond bid was awarded to Trustmark National Bank, whose 3.57percent rate was the lowest of three received. The bonds will bepaid back over a 10-year period.

“We’re very pleased with the rate,” Barrett said. “(The bondissue) will allow us to replace the windows, purchase the buses andmake other improvements.”

Trustees also opted Tuesday to have students attend school onFeb. 16 and April 13 to make up school days that were missed whenHurricane Gustav came through in early September. Originally,students were to be out of school those dates for a staffdevelopment day and the day after Easter.

Teachers will also be at school on May 26 for a workday to meetminimum contract requirements.

Among points of interest, Barrett updated board membersregarding recently released curriculum and subject area testingresults.

Barrett said students in language exceeded the state average inall but two areas and in all be three areas in the math portion. AtBrookhaven High School, students surpassed the state average inthree of four test areas: Biology, Algebra 1 and English II.

And despite more rigorous testing, Barrett praised teacherefforts to move more students to the level of Proficient or betteras compared to last year’s results.

“This shows tremendous focus and dedication by the high schoolstaff and administration,” Barrett said.

In other business, Barrett said she would be meeting with stateeducational officials and then district officials later this weekregarding revised budget plans for the current year and next year.Gov. Haley Barbour has asked state agency heads to submit newbudget plans with a 2 percent spending reduction for this year anda 4 percent reduction next year.