Schools end year with extra funds

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Brookhaven School District has amendedits 2010-11 budget to reflect that the district has money remainingfrom that year.

    The district’s board of trustees heard a report Tuesday night fromDirector of Finance Susan Quin concerning the additional money.

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    “We start out with a budget and then revise to reflect actualexpenditures,” Quin said.

    The board voted to adopt the revised budget, which reflects thoseactual expenditures and indicates the additional money. Quin couldnot provide an exact figure Tuesday night, but estimated the moneyat “several hundred thousand dollars.”

    Superintendent Dr. Lisa Karmacharya identified for the boardseveral items she would like to address using the additional funds.Those items are the construction of a new baseball field house,upgrades to computer labs, a new elementary reading textbook seriesand off-site storage for electronic data.

    Karmacharya particularly emphasized the need for off-site backupsof digital data. She said if her computer, or computers belongingto other administrators were to crash, the data on them would belost as there is no backup system in place at present.

    Karmacharya said the district is currently unprepared for adisaster that could destroy multiple computers and would leave thedistrict without many important records and with no way to recoverthem.

    “If something catastrophic were to happen we would have nobackups,” Karmacharya said. “It’s non-negotiable that we pursueoff-site backup.”

    Karmacharya suggested the possibility of backing up the district’sdata at servers in different states, providing the district withmultiple safety nets.

    Constructing a new baseball field house would come as welcome newsto the baseball team and Diamond Club, which have been lobbying foran upgraded building. Members of the team and Diamond Club appearedat the August board member and discussed plans to raise funds for a$160,000 field house.

    The district’s additional money will allow it to contributesignificantly to the field house project.    

    The board also took further action Tuesday night on an alternativeschool policy that has proved troublesome in recent months.

    In May, Disability Rights Mississippi filed a complaint with theMississippi Department of Education concerning the Brookhavendistrict’s alternative school policy.

    Under federal law, students with disabilities must possess anindividualized education plan (IEP) and according to the complaint,the district’s alternative school policy bypassed students’IEPs.

    The MDE ruled that the district’s policy was in violation offederal law and requested revisions. The school submitted a revisedpolicy stating that placement of students receiving specialeducation services in alternative school was subject to thatstudent’s IEP.

     Karmacharya told the boardTuesday night that the MDE was still not satisfied with the policyand suggested the following addendum be added:

    “Any placement in the alternative program of a student receivingspecial education services shall be governed by that student’sindividualized education plan (IEP).

    “All procedures set forth in this handbook, including but notlimited to placement criteria, referral process, duration, and exitcriteria, are subject to revision based on decisions made by theIEP committee.”

    The board voted to adopt the addendum and add it to the handbook ofthe alternative school, Fannie Mullins.