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School board to await 16th section contract

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY /  Board member Pat Lowery (from left) comments on action during Tuesday evening's Brookhaven school board meeting as board member James Tillman and board president Willie Harrison check their paperwork.

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / Board member Stan Patrick (from left) comments on action during Tuesday evening’s Brookhaven school board meeting as board member James Tillman and board president Willie Harrison check their paperwork.

Brookhaven City School Board members agreed Tuesday night to risk running late with re-planting a tract of seedling trees on 16th Section land due to some disagreement over a contract with Diversified Forestree Management out of Sumrall.

Board attorney Robert Allen said the contract with the forestry management company did not go through because of a disagreement with the company over liability and workers compensation benefits.

“The contract [according to an opinion the board sought from the state board of education] must carry workers compensation,” Allen said.

Forester Versie Rushing explained to board members that by not accepting the contract and halting planting they risk getting plants in the ground too late to be viable.

“If it is re-bidded,” Rushing said, “there is a risk of being late for planting season.”

Allen told board members that the state’s opinion would be wise to follow – it is to protect the school district.

“My job is to protect you,” he said, “you should have the insurance in place before any workers get on site.” Lowery asked board members about rejecting Diversified’s bid and advertising again for new bids on the reforestation work.

Board president Willie Harrison made a motion to reject the contract and advertise for new bids. The motion was seconded and approved by all members.

Interim superintendent Stephanie Henderson then answered questions about the purchase of educational materials from Sole Source in the amount of $15,215. Board members wanted to know why Henderson felt it important to buy this package of software and learning materials for students.

“We will be conducting student assessments just before spring break,” Henderson said. “We are working on curriculum for the MCT2 testing and Sole Source will be used to help teachers and guide their classroom instruction.”

In other business, board members:

• Accepted a donation from Trustmark National Bank to Alexander Junior High School in the amount of $85 for National Junior Honor Society Membership.

• Approved the Brookhaven Technical Center’s carpentry class to have a fundraiser selling items they’ve built, like doghouses, Adirondack chairs and picnic tables.

• Approved Rushing and Howard Stoner bidding for timber sales (clear cut and thinning).

• Agreed to let Allen and Henderson notify a seller of property that the school is interested in purchasing it and must have the property appraised.