Steele family and Superintendent Taylor agree to move forward

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Buffalo Island Central superintendent Gaylon Taylor read an agreement signed by Taylor and the Steele family (John Steele, and Mr. Steele's sisters, Ruthie Cullum and Pat Qualls Taylor) at the Monday, Sept. 28, meeting. The resolution states they had resolved issues between the two parties. Both parties are in agreement of the resolution and want to move forward. At this point, neither the district nor the Steele families have any further comment to any publication/publications on issues of the past.

John Steele, BIC patron, addressed the board presenting a list of reasons why he thinks people are voting no on the proposed millage increase. Also pictured are Steele's sisters, Pat Qualls-Taylor and Ruthie Cullum. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Taylor offered to meet with Mr. Steele and his sisters following the Aug. 17 board meeting to discuss the ban on Mr. Steele from the BIC campus. Taylor, Mr. Steele, Cullum, Taylor and Board member John Field met off campus and came up with the resolution with all parties in agreement to move forward.

Mr. Steele briefly addressed the board distributing handouts listing some of the reasons he feels the people are voting no on the millage increase for the proposed construction of new buildings. The millage proposal has failed twice.

The proposal is scheduled to be voted on again in January.

"Maybe these reasons will give you a better perspective on some of the reasons people are voting no," Steele said.

He went on to say patrons are looking at the declining enrollment.

"You can take this and read it," Mr. Steele said. "It is presented to you to help you understand why we have had two elections with "no" votes."

Superintendent Taylor said he would like to comment on the enrollment.

"Our enrollment has been going up," Taylor said.

Taylor said he attended a meeting at Manila and heard Cliff Chitwood with Mississippi County Economic Development talk about the possible growth of the area with the coming of the new steel mill in Osceola. It was encouraging.

"I would like to have him come and speak at one of our public meetings," Taylor said. We have a lot of things to consider. We all know we will need homes for people to relocate here. We will have to address that issue when we make our plans for the future."

Taylor said when he started at BIC two years ago attendenance was 795. The second year finished with over 800. Attendance fell back this year because the school graduated a large group with a smaller group coming in.

Dr. Kima Stewart, elementary principal, said enrollment in pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade is presently 817.

The board reviewed the financial report. Taylor pointed out the building fund has grown to the amount of $352,362.88. The money can be utilized for furniture or other needs in the future.

Dr. Stewart presented the state and federal program budgets for the 2015-2016 school year. She said these funds come with guidelines. Every penny is used for academic achievement. Federal funds are Title I $157,208.36; Title IIA $36,353; State funds -- Title VI is $15,975.74; NSLA $263,610, carryover $19,476.30 for a total of $283,086.30; Professional Development $21,136 with carryover $20,722.14 for a total of $41,85814; Alternative Learning Environment $2,228.12 (carry over); English Language Learner $25,580.86 (carryover); for a total of federal/state budget for 2015-2016 $562,290.52.

The board approved the state and federal budget as presented.

Taylor and the board reviewed the proposed budget with revenue projections at $5,813,090. They reviewed the expenses which included $500 teacher raises, text books, bus drivers, technology,lighting, firej alarms, tools, etc.

In other business:

*Superintendent Taylor read a thank you letter on behalf of the BIC District to Michael McFarlin for his time and insight during his service on the board. Newly elected school board member Jason Stewart, who had served prior to McFarlin's appointment, had no opposition in the September school board election.

*The boys and girls golf teams, both earning district championship titles, were recognized by the board.

*Taylor said the classrooms have been equipped with new magnetic white boards with funding coming from the building fund.

*The board approved salaries for the after school tutorial teachers at $36.

*Taylor said Lisa Ashabranner, school nurse, submitted her resignation.

*Approved the 2015 ACSIP Field Test for the district and each building.

*Approved the 2015-16 Minority Recruitment Plan. School demographics include 80 percent white studnets, 18 percent Hispanic and two percent other.

*The lighting in the gymnasium will be repaced with energy saving LED lighting. Taylor said it will save the district in energy cost. The cost will be $16,456 to install the new lights. He said a representative is coming to give an estimated cost at replacing the lighting in all buildings if the millage does not pass.

*Selected John Field as delegate for the state school board meeting.

*Board members reviewed and accepted Act 1120 Resolution, a list of all employeesj with a salary increases of five percent.

*The board board approved the request of Cathy Baldridge to go from a 210 day contract to a 205 day contract.

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