School district leaders discuss program changes

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brookhaven School District officials met Monday night to go over changes in several of the district’s programs.

     The meeting covered the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Title I and II and IDEIA Part B and preschool budget for special education.

     None of the programs saw extensive change from the 2011-12 school year to the fast-approaching 2012-13 year.

     Among the three, the IDEIA special education portion saw the most change.

     The BSD failed to meet six targets within special education in the 2010-2011 school year, including not having enough special needs students graduating with a regular diploma and the percentage of students who dropped out of school.

     Brandy Myers, with the district’s Office of Special Education, said it has laid out a plan to deal with the areas they did not meet.

     Changes will be made in staff development for personnel, to improve post secondary transition activities for junior high and high school students. Also planned are updates to policies and procedures related to grading and discipline.

     Myers said having a clear understanding of polices is important.

     “There is a need to have written procedures in place in these areas to allow administrators and parents to have a cohesive understanding of those processes and to better protect the district from making subjective decisions,” she said.

     Elsewhere, all of the funding for Title I and II has not come in yet, but Dr. Daniel Rushing, director of BSD’s Office of Federal Programs, said the school district would budget the money based on what they received last year until it all comes in.

     “We know we’ll get at least 85 percent of what we received last year,” he said. “So right now we’re just budgeting it at 85 percent and we can add the rest later.”

     One thing complicating things is the No Child Left Behind waiver the state of Mississippi received on July 19.

     ” We’re still waiting for more information from the state on how that will impact us, and so is everyone else in Mississippi,” he said.

     The Children’s Internet Protection Act saw few changes from last year. The program is designed to protect children from visual depictions that are obscene and other potentially harmful sites.

     Additions to the law for this year include requiring school districts to notify the public on what they are doing to protect their children and to have the ability to generate daily reports that are sent to principals if there is any suspicious online activity.