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Judge Gary Turner swore in the newly-elected members of the Chickasaw County Consolidated School Board on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The board members were, from left, Tammy Chamblee, Teresa Woodard, Barbie Gill, James Earp and Thomas Howell. 

HOUSTON – The interim school board for the Chickasaw County Consolidated School District were sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 7, during a ceremony in the Houston High School auditorium.

The five members, consisting of three from the current Houston School District and two from the Chickasaw County School District (Houlka), were sworn in by Judge Gary Turner.

The members are, Thomas Howell, Houston, Tammy Chamblee, Houston, Barbie Gill, Houston, James Earp, Houlka, and Teresa Woodard, Houlka.

Once sworn in, Superintendent John Ellison called the meeting to order.

The first order of business was to elect a board president.

Earp nominated Howell, and the board unanimously voted to approve.

Next was Vice President.

Woodard nominated Earp, who was also voted in unanimously.

Lastly, the board needed to elect a Secretary.

Gill nominated Chamblee, who was approved.

With the election in the books, the board then turned to how they would proceed in the future, being an all new board with no previous meetings, they were at the virtual square one.

The first thing that they decided was the meeting date and times.

After some deliberation, it was decided to meet on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. This was the regularly scheduled meeting time of the former Houston School Board.

Next they turned towards an operating budget.

They approved taking a portion of money from each current district's budgets, proportionate to the number of students, and creating a budget for the new board to use as an operating budget, for things such as travel, or other expenses that the board may incur.

The total of the budget is $15,000. This is made up of $11,775 from Houston, which accounts for 78.5% of the funds, and $3,225 from Houlka which accounts for 21.5%.

Once the consolidation officially takes place on July 1, and the two districts become one, whatever is left in the budget will be transferred into the budget for the new district.

The last base the board had to cover was a policy issue.

The two previous boards each had slightly different policies for public comments. Thus, the new consolidated board had to choose between one or the other, or a hybrid of the two.

Ultimately, they elected to go with Houston's former policy.

With this, the board turned their attention to other orders of business and continued the meeting as a board with a solid foundation, and a direction in which to go, insuring a smooth transition.

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