County board takes care of varied actions

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Lincoln County School board met Monday and approved the district business manager’s request to stop the summer insurance program and OK’d the land manager’s recommendations and agreed to the final inspection dates for the new gyms at each of the county schools. Also, in his closing remarks superintendent Terry Brister praised his staff for their hard work.

Business manager Cheryl Shelby explained the complications of the summer insurance program.

“We have been holding out money from paychecks during the school year to pay insurance premiums during the summer months,” she said. “Then, if they quit or drop the insurance, we have to go back and calculate refunds, and it involves other complicating aspects like tax adjustments – that’s why you’ve seen many of the refund requests we have. What was a benefit has become a burden.

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“We want to stop being a bank, simply put,” she explained. “We’re saying, it’s their money, they need to manage it during the summer months.”

Sixteenth section land manager Stan Long was on hand for questions about his recommendations, which included right of way for a section of land they are preparing to cut timber on, timber sales and notifying a lessee of pending termination.

Long said Danny Thompson, who leases 16th Section land that serves as his residence, has paid his lease but, Thompson has not paid the land taxes. He recommended that the board set a Nov. 1 deadline to pay. Long will first send Thompson a registered letter giving him 30 days before terminating the lease on the Nov. 1 deadline.

The new gymnasiums in the district are ready for final inspection by board members, said Brister. Bogue Chitto and Enterprise have newly constructed gyms and the Loyd Star and West Lincoln gyms received upgrades.

Construction began in the summer of 2012 and was funded by money the district had carefully budgeted and with earmarked funds received from the state that had been earmarked and saved for such projects. The board approved dates in October to visit each of the campuses and give approval of the new construction.

In his closing remarks, Brister said he was pleased with the district’s recent accountability grade of B (High Performing) from the Mississippi Department of Education.

“We’re very pleased with our grade, but to say we are satisfied? – No,” he said. “We’ll never be satisfied. We’ve strived to build a stable foundation and have had steady, incremental success over the years that is lasting.

“Be thankful of our central office staff also. They wear many, many hats. When you look at other district staffs, we’re operating on a skeleton crew. So, you should really be impressed with what they do – you’re really getting your money’s worth. We do really well with what we’ve got.

“Everyone’s talking about how well we did, but it’s been a lot of hard work,” Brister said.