HOUSTON – The Chickasaw County School District, comprised of Houston and Houlka Schools, will soon offer a new extra curricular activity, e-sports.

The decision was made during the school board's regular monthly meeting on Sep. 14, and the vote was unanimous.

E-sports is sanctioned through the Mississippi High School Athletics Association (MHSAA) and there are even seasons.

“There are two seasons, there's a fall season and a spring season, and there are seven games offered by MHSAA,” said Superintendent John Ellison. “They pick those games and they get on the PlayStation, or Switch or computer and they compete with other schools. There are something like two days a week that they will compete with schools around us and even have playoffs at the end of the season.”

One of the benefits of the program is getting kids involved in extra curricular activities that would otherwise not be.

“What I like most about this is that it is getting kids involved that we have never gotten involved in stuff before. This is their niche and they are fired up about it. We had an interest meeting just to see if we would want to try to offer this, and we had a really good turn out at both schools. They are excited about it, and they've blown principals up asking questions.”

The split seasons are so that students who are involved in other sports can potentially still participate.

“They do the different seasons because, since it's after school, certain games play certain days during that week, so, if I'm playing football, I'm at practice, so there's no way I can compete at that,” said Houston High School Principal William Cook, who researched the program along side Ellison and Houlka Principal Willie Mounce. “So, I can then play in the spring, and vice-versa for baseball and softball, they can play in the fall. So that's why the MHSAA has the two seasons so that they can reach a multitude of students.”

“Some of the students in Houlka, and these are the students who don't do anything else as far as extra curriculars, there's a lot of those,” said Mounce. “I have some students that honestly never say a word to anybody hardly any day, and they have talked to me every day, and they are pumped up about it.”

Another benefit is that the students are under the same MHSAA eligibility requirements, meaning that they must be in school and maintain the grades to compete.

The approximate start up costs for the district is around $6,500 per school.

There is no time line yet as to when they will begin competing.

Trustees also:

– Approved the agenda with additions.

– Approved the minutes of the regular board meeting on Aug.10, and the special called board meeting on Aug. 20.

– Opened the floor for public comments, of which there were none.

– Heard the principals' data presentations from the four state-tested schools in the district.

– Approved the resolution for purchase of buses and the Omnibus Certificate.

– Approved to purchase the Professional Software for Nurses. The initial cost will be $4,490 and then $600 a year for 3 users.

– Approved David Smith, for tree cutting service, to cut five trees and grind stumps at the Houston Upper Elementary School for $2,000.

– Approved paying administrative leave for bus drivers during the virtual learning days for the Houston schools from Aug. 25-Sep. 3.

– Approved an additional secretary at Houlka Attendance Center to perform accounting and purchasing duties as well as day to day responsibilities.

– Approved requesting reverse auction bids for transportation supplies for the 2021-2022 school year.

– Approved paying $4,000 stipend for payroll clerk and accounts payable clerk to cover additional work and time associated with ESSER allocations.

– Approved a $1,000 raise for all bus drivers in the Chickasaw County School District.

– Approved the final amended FY21 budget for Houlka.

– Approved the amended 2020-2021 Combined and Combining Budget for Houston School District.

– Approved the financial reports.

– Approved bills and payroll.

– Approved the personnel actions.

– Approved Letter of Engagement from Cunningham CPAs, PLLC, for audit services for Chickasaw County School District- Houlka for the year ending June 30, 2021.

– Approved accepting a donation from the Dream Riders Chapter H for supplies, food for homes and clothes for Mrs. Lyles self-contained classroom at the Houston High School.

– Approved Houston FFA Chapter to accept a $5,000 grant from the Natioanl FFA Grants for Growing Program sponsored by Tractor Supply.

– Approved accepting Denise Poe from the Pontotoc County School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Her mom works there.

– Approved releasing Connor, Avery and Cody Atkinson from the Chickasaw County School District to attend school in the West Point Consolidated School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Their mom works there.

– Approved accepting Sarah and Natalie Burcham from the New Albany School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center, Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Their mom works there

– Approved accepting Charlie and Jude Young from the Pontotoc County School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Their mom works there.

– Approved accepting Peyton Day from the Pontotoc County School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. His mom Works there.

– Approved accepting Michael Reid Black and Hunter L. Black from the Okolona School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Their mom work there.

– Approved accepting Hayes Paden and Jack Jolly from the Okolona School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Their mom works there.

– Approved accepting Jenny Criddle from Houston-Chickasaw County School District to attend Houlka Attendance Center-Chickasaw County School District for the 2021-2022 school year. Her mom works there.

– Approved obsolete items to be removed from fixed assets.

– Approved for Amy Alford, teacher at Houston Upper Elementary, to accept the donation from Donors Choose in the amount of $181.38 for A.R (Accelerated Reader) incentive.

– Approved the Drug & Alcohol Testing Services Contract for the 2021-2022 school year.

– Approved accepting the donation of 50 custom sideline chairs with racks from the Basketball Boosters. These chairs will be used in the Houston High School Gym. Approximate donation cost will be $7, 500.

– Approved Policy Revisions / updates to section "A"

AA - School District Legal Status/MAEP

AAA - School District Liability Exemptions

AB - School Board Legal Status

ABA - Authority

ABB - Board Powers and Duties

ABBA - General Home Rule Authority

ABC - Board Member Legal Status

ABCB - Board Members Qualifications

ABCC - Board Member Term of Office

ABCD - Method of Election

ABCDA - Board Member Unexpired Term Fulfillment

ABCE - Oath of Office

ABD - Superintendent Legal Status

AC - School District Organization Plan

ADA - School Census

ADB - Average Daily Attendance

AE - School Year (Academic Year)

AEA - School Calendar

AEAA - Vacations

AEAB - Holidays

AEBA - Extended School Year / Summer School

AF - School Day

AFA - Flag Display

AFC - Authority for Emergency Closings

23. Approve Revision to Policy

IDE - Gifted Education Program

– Held the first reading of policy section "B".

– Received the ATSI Report for the Houston Middle School for August 2021

– Read the monthly board report for August 2021.

– Heard the superintendent's report.

– Entered into Executive Session for student discipline case and a legal issue.

– Discussed the board topics.

– Adjourned.

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