Manila building project approved by the state

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pam Castor, Manila School superintendent, informed board members at the Thursday, July meeting the district had been approved for $1,732,649 under the state's new partnership program to build a new junior high facility. The state will pay $1,161,451 and the district will pay $571,198.

Castor said the district was approved for $500,000 more than originally expected.

"We will be able to build the building with no millage increase," she said.

Castor informed the board the state foundation per student for the coming school year had been increased to $5,662 per student. She went on to explain that for Manila this could actually be a decrease. She said local tax collections are subtracted from the state's foundation formula. With the tax subtracted, state foundation money is $4,821.65 per student. The state assumes calculations on a 98 percent tax collection rate.

"Last year we had a collection rate of 81 percent," Castor said.

"You can see the impact our local tax collection has on our state aid," Castor said. "The state assumes everybody has a high tax collection rate."

Castor said she thinks this is one of the issues that will be addressed in the next legislative session.

"Sometimes what we expect may not be what we get," she said.

She went on to say Manila has a sound financial future.

The average teacher's salary increased to $40,515.12 for the 2005-06 year.

"If we continue to grow, our state money will grow with it," she said.

Manila District presently has a 31.01 mills. Castor said she would prepare a report comparing it to other districts in the state to present at a future meeting.

"We will be discussing finances again when we get into the proposed budget," she said.

The board unanimously accepted D&A's bid of $9,750 for the construction of a storage building to house agri related supplies.

After reviewing and discussing bids for a pre-engineered maintenance building adjacent to the bus shed, the board accepted the $85,980 bid from Oates Construction.

The board voted to accept the milk bid from Turner Dairy and Interstate Brand's bread bid for the 2006-07 school year.

Castor recommended the board accept the bids from the Computer Shop for 30 laptop computers at $799 per computer.

"Jason (Jason Baltimore, technology coordinator) has reviewed the bids and recommended we accept the Computer Shop's bid," Castor said. He knows the software we will be using and said these are compatible. This will be doubled as we will be purchasing 30 computers for the junior high lab and 30 for the high school lab."

The board voted unanimously to accept the Computer Shop bid.

Castor recommended accepting Image Gallery's picture proposal for the 2006-07 year. The board voted unanimously.

The board reviewed three picture proposals.

Castor said she was prepared to make a recommendation for a two year rotation basis if the board wanted to rotate with local vendors.

Board member Jackie Hill said he would rather look at it on a year to year basis.

The Board accepted the model policy updates.

Before the board approved the handbooks, Board member Jackie Hill asked if the problem they had last year had been corrected.

"We have included more detail, Castor said. "We have made the adjustments suggested by the Standards Review."

A commendable attendance award was added for students with 96 percent attendance and perfect attendance award remained as students being neither absent nor tardy.

Board President Scott Misner asked if the handbook clearly states at what bell a student must be in the classroom before being counted tardy.

Principal Diane Wagner said there is a warning bell and students must be in the classroom before the second bell. There are five minutes between bells.

Castor suggested the board approve $55 perdiem for board members training.

"You may be reluctant to do this but it has been recommended by the state," Castor said. "This will assist people who lose money or give up vacation time to get the training required for the school board members. This is a recommendation from the State and we will have to act on it every July. I selected $55 as a starting point."

Castor's recommendation passed unanimously.

Castor recommended the board consider acquiring a liability insurance policy to cover student accidents on campus or at school activities.

"Many districts provide this type of insurance," Castor said. "It is a secondary insurance policy. Students who are covered will file on personal insurance and the secondary insurance will pick up some of the balance. If students are not covered it will cover at least some of the cost. We presently have no insurance on students."

After discussion, the board voted unanimously to accept a plan from Dwight Jones Co. Castor said the insurance will run from $8,819.43 to $15,687, depending on the plan the board accepts.

Board member Tony Crowell said he felt this would be beneficial to the patrons.

The board accepted the transfer of Austin Thompson, kindergarten student, from South Mississippi County School District.

The board approved the continuation of the migrant program.

The board then went into a lengthy executive session to discuss personnel.

The board voted to hire Karen Graham as choir teacher for the 2006-07 school year; Rodney Cooper as bus driver and added five days to Steve Milligan's contract.

Principal Diane Wagner presented the Benchmark Examination results and the End of Course Algebra, Geometry, and literacy percentages for elementary through the eighth grade.

"We are making progress," Wagner said. "We are going in the right direction and we are proud of the scores. We eagerly anticipate the extra period next year. It will give us time for remediation and should make a difference."

The board changed the time of its August meeting from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. allowing time for the annual walk through of the district's buildings. The Manila School board meets the third Thursday of each month.

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