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Waiver adds to coaching staff at area schools

Action taken following an executive session of the Lincoln County School Board this week could allow hourly employees to also serve as assistant coaches.

The board, minus President Johnny Hart, who was absent, went into executive session during Monday’s meeting to discuss five items — personnel matters at Enterprise Attendance Center and Bogue Chitto Attendance Center, two student transfer matters and a legal matter concerning logger Kurt Smith and a possible fine owed to the school district for Smith’s unintentional cutting of the wrong 16th section timber.

Lincoln County Superintendent Mickey Myers cannot discuss the details of what was talked about in the executive session, but can reveal the actions by the board, if any, that was taken following the closed-door meeting.

Concerning the personnel matter at Bogue Chitto, Myers said Mississippi law states that hourly employees cannot serve in any other capacity at a school that would extend their time on the clock. Board attorney Jim Keith has created a waiver that would allow hourly employees to serve in some assistant coaching positions, Myers said.

The waiver would allow assistant teachers to volunteer as assistant coaches in school sports’ programs. Myers said employees’ participation would hinge on their paraprofessional status with the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

Coaching duties also could not conflict with the employees’ primary duties at the school, he said.

Employees would receive no monetary compensation as coaches, but they can, however, receive coaching shirts and other items paid members of the coaching staff receive, he said.

Logger fined

Smith was on the regular agenda for Monday’s meeting, but at Keith’s recommendation, it was moved to executive session.

“He said we needed to handle it in executive session,” Myers said.

Smith initially came before the board Sept. 6 to ask that the board forgive a “human mistake” he’d made which caused a violation in a logging contract. The board could fine Smith, who owns Hardly Able Logging. Smith set up on the wrong side of a blue cut line used to mark parcels of district-owned 16th section land. Smith didn’t dispute the money he owes, but asked the board if they could forgive the fine for the logging contract violation of breaching a designated cut line.

The board needed more information, so they tabled a the issue until their Sept. 19 meeting. However, Stan Long, the district’s 16th section land manager, could not attend and it was postponed again until Monday.

During executive session, the board met with Smith, Long and Howard Stogner with the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

After the meeting, the board voted to uphold Smith’s contract with the school district, Myers said.

“This requires him to pay a penalty of ‘double stumpage’ or twice the value of the timber cut erroneously, which Mr. Smith has done,” Myers said.

“The penalty would be in the neighborhood of $20,000 but the exact amount cannot be determined until the exact value of the timber is calculated.”

Student transfers

Both student transfers were about out-of-district transfer fees. The board voted to uphold the principal’s recommendation to revoke the transfer and to follow policy, which states that out-of-district tuition is non-refundable.

However, the board plans to discuss the out-of-district tuition at a future meeting and possibly consider restoring the policy to allow prorated refunds.

No action was taken on the Enterprise personnel matter.