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Houlka Attendance Center getting new principal

HOULKA – Houlka Attendance Center will have a new principal when school bells ring later this summer.

The Chickasaw County School District School Board approved Houlka Attendance Center Principal Anthony Golding’s replacement as part of several personnel changes during its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday June 4.

Trustees approved Willie Mounce as the new principal for FY 2020 at a salary of $65,000 pending release of his current contract. He is presently an elementary principal at Okolona, but was released from his contract there. He’s scheduled to begin work at Houlka July 1.

“After Mr. Golding asked to resign at the May 23 board meeting, we began looking for someone with experience to replace him. We were fortunate to be able to find Mr. Mounce, who has a year’s experience as principal at Okolona, and has also been an academic coach there.

“He’s been here this week, meeting with Mr. Golding, learning all the things he’ll have to be responsible for as an attendance center principal.

Golding, who is working on his doctorate in education, will be going to Milam Elementary School in Tupelo as an assistant principal. He had been with HAC two years.

“We wish him well as he continues his career and welcome Mr. Mounce on board at Houlka,” Dr. Collums said.

Golding said he regrets leaving Houlka, but looks forward to the opportunities at Milam.

“I can’t say how much I’ll miss Houlka, but this is a good opportunity for advancement, to get my foot in the door.

“I’ll be going to a one-grade school – 6th grade only – and there aren’t very many of those,” he said.

His long-term goals? “I hope to be a principal in that district in the next few years,” he said Friday morning.

In other action at the meeting, trustees:

--Approved the resignation of Gary Griffin as a science teacher/ bus driver/ baseball coach at the end of his current contract and rescind his contract for FY 20.

--Approved Johnathon Huffman as a history teacher/ head baseball coach/ sub bus driver at A0 on the salary scale pending certification for FY 20.

--Approved Danny Kelly as a bus driver for FY 20 pending certification.

--Approved Nadine (Dee) Holsey as a sub in the cafeteria for FY 20 at $8 per hour.

--Approved the Dual Credit and Middle College Agreement with Itawamba Community College for FY 20. In a Middle College, high school juniors and seniors who are enrolled full-time at HAC and meet certain criteria would take courses for college credit at ICC.

“Students would have the opportunity to build a college transcript that will benefit their future college enrollment in any university or community college,” Dr. Collums said. “Students may work either towards an associate degree or take courses that will lay the foundation for a specific bachelor’s degree. ”

--Approved releasing William Steele Brooks to attend Houston School District for the 2019-20 school year.

--Approved releasing Hoyt Smith to attend Houston School District for the 2019-20 school year.

--Heard Mary Margaret Williams of Liberty Mutual Insurance – handled by Tabb Insurance Agency, Inc., of Houston – discuss a property and casualty insurance quote. Liberty Mutual is the school’s insurer. Trustees then approved a property and casualty insurance quote for July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 of $95,457.

--Approved payment of claims.

--Approved financial statements.

--Approved budget amendments.

--Approved deletion of fixed assets.

--Approved the budget for the 2019-20 school year.

--Approved out of district travel.

--Approved the Special Education Application and Assurances for FY 20.

--Approved the Federal Program Application and Assurances for FY 20.

--Approved Synergetics Tech Contract for $21,150.00 for FY 20. Synergetics is a major information technology services and consulting firm in the southeast, providing technology solutions for business, education, financial, government, healthcare and manufacturing customers.

--Approved disposing/shredding appropriate financial records for the district for fiscal years 2011-12 and prior.

--Approved membership of the Chickasaw County School District in the North Mississippi Education Consortium for the 2019-20 school year for a $500 fee.

--Approved a basic membership of the Chickasaw County School District in PREPS (Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools, headquartered at William Carey College) for a fee of $475 for the 2019-20 school year. PREPS is Mississippi’s only statewide educational consortium. It was organized over 40 years ago in 1976 as a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Mississippi public schools. PREPS is governed by a board of directors made up of current Mississippi school district superintendents representing the state’s congressional districts.

--Approved membership of Chickasaw County School District in the Mississippi School Board Association for the 2019-20 school year.

--Approved the Interagency Agreement with Lifecore Health Group to provide a support therapist for the 2019-20 school year.

The goal at Lifecorp Health Group is to establish an accessible, comprehensive, integrated healthcare system for individuals who suffer from a behavioral health disorder, have a developmental disability, or suffer from a chemical dependency.

The group’s goal is to meet the health care needs of children and adolescents who suffer from a severe emotional disturbance and adults who suffer from a chronic behavioral health disorder or chemical dependency, according to the group’s website.

--Approved the Asbestos Continuing Services Contract with Pickering for a fee of $3,000 for the 2019-20 school year.

--Approved a $75 grant from Pets in the Classroom for Christy Moss. Pets in the Classroom is an educational grant program that provides financial support to teachers to purchase and maintain small animals in the classroom. The program was established by the Pet Care Trust to provide children with an opportunity to interact with pets, according to the group’s website --

--Approved the donation of two Easter baskets to the junior class from Dianne Simmons retroactive to April 5.

--Approved Board Policy EFA – Data Breach Prevention.

--Reviewed revisions to the Wellness Policy.

--Reviewed handbook revisions.

--Approved moving the Tuesday, July 2 board meeting to Thursday, June 27.

--Reviewed recommended policy changes from MSBA.

Crimestoppers breakfast

HOUSTON – Crimestoppers of Northeast Mississippi sponsored a breakfast for area law enforcement officers and first responders Friday, June 7 at the Houston Fire Station.

“The annual meal gave us a chance to express our appreciation to these folks, and discuss what we do,” said Norman Griffin, who along with Allen Hodge and John Walden are board members representing Chickasaw County in the organization.

About 25 people were on hand for the meal. They included Chickasaw deputies, Houston police, EMTs, 911 dispatchers, and jail personnel.

Crimestoppers covers nine counties in Northeast Mississippi. In coming months, a breakfast will be held for similar personnel in each of the counties.

Houston superintendent: School Resource Officer "has helped us a ton"

HOUSTON – Meeting earlier this month, the Houston School District School Board approved Houston police officer Kevin Moore as a SRO (School Resource Officer) for the 2019-2020 school year. He’ll continue to work for the city as he does his SRO job.

He’ll be starting his second year as an SRO. Moore’s also the first one the Houston School District has had, Superintendent Tony Cook said.

“He’s helped us a ton. He’s been a very valuable asset to us. He’s very good with students. He can talk to them and they feel like they can talk to him. It’s been a great relationship.

“Also, having an officer present changes the atmosphere and feel of the campus,” Cook said.

He said there’s always been an SRO every place else he’s worked, “and it’s been a goal of mine to have one ever since I’ve been here.”

The Houston School District has four campuses, “and I hope someday to have a second SRO as well,” Cook said.

Trustees also OKed a payment agreement with the City of Houston with a yearly increase of $823.52 due to increases in insurance and retirement. The total 2019-2020 expense will be $28,499.17.

In other action during its 6 p.m. Monday, June 10 meeting in the Central Office Conference Room, School Board trustees:

--Approved Lisa Johnson to teach piano in the Houston School District during School Year 2019-2020.

--Approved accepting William Steele Brooks from Chickasaw County School District to attend the Houston School District for the 2019-2020 School year.

--Approved accepting Hoyt Smith from Chickasaw County School District to attend Houston School District for the 2019-2020 School Year.

--Approved releasing Sidney Smith from the Houston School District to attend the Tupelo School District during the 2019-20 School Year.

--Approved releasing Gavin Caples from the Houston School District to Attend Calhoun County School District during the 2019-20 School Year. His mom works in that district.

--Approved minutes of the regular board meeting on Monday, May 13, 2019 and a special called board meeting Thursday, May 23, 2019.

--Heard an insurance renewal presentation for 2019-20 by Mary Margaret Williams of Tabb South Insurance.

Trustees then approved the 2019-20 annual insurance renewal quote of $190,624 from Tabb South Insurance.

--Approved the 2019-2020 Technical Services Agreement with Synergetics in the amount of $34,034.

--Approved having all obsolete equipment picked up and be destroyed by Tech Trash.

--Approved requesting bids for a reverse auction, a timed activity done on line where bidders can offer progressively lower quotes for various items, for transportation supplies for the School Year 2019-2020.

--Approved to advertise and take sealed bids for the sale of a Univex 60 Quart Mixer from the Lower Elementary Cafeteria and a Hobart VCM (Vertical Cutter Mixer) Processor from the Middle School Cafeteria. Neither item is being used, trustees said.

--Approved the Child Nutrition bid protest procedure and policy.

--Approved wellness policies for 2019-2020 for

-Houston School District, Houston Lower Elementary, Houston Upper Elementary, Houston Middle School, Houston High School, and Houston CTE.

--Approved depository services using BancorpSouth beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2022.

--Approved the May 2019 financial reports.

--Approved bills and payroll.

--Approved a collaborative agreement between the Houston School District and Millcreek of Pontotoc Schools, and approved the Special Education IDEA FY20 Part B and Preschool Budget.

--Approved the 2019-20 LIFECORE Interagency Agreement with the Houston School District.

--Approved the Child Nutrition Procurement Plan for School Year 2019-2020.

--Approved a proposal for athletic season tickets for 2019-2020.

--Approved the 2019-2020 Reading Renewal Contract with Success for All Foundation at a total cost of $14,750.

--Approved the HSD 2019-20 Alternative School handbook.

--Approved the HSD 2019-20 Bus Driver Handbook.

--Approved the FY2020 Federal Consolidated Title Budget

--Approved the following Items from Donors Choose (to be delivered Aug. 1, 2019) that were fully funded for Joyce Moore, HMS: 108 three ring 1” binders, Ticonderoga Pencils – 3 packs of 72, Avery Multiuse Tabs – 6 packs of 24, and blue copy paper.

--Approved the 2019-2020 Houston School District calendar revision

--Approved declaring a series of fixed assets as obsolete and to be disposed of.

--Held a brief budget workshop.

–Held a First Reading of Board Policy JDB – Corporal Punishment.

--Heard the Superintendent’s Report.

--Adjourned until June 26 at 8 a.m. to close out budget, and take any other actions needed to close out the fiscal year.

Fire at local manufacturing plant

HOUSTON – The cause and point of origin of a fire at the Leggett and Platt Branch 1704 manufacturing facility on 3rd Avenue early Wednesday morning, June 12, have been ruled undetermined, Houston Fire Chief Jonathan Blankenship said Thursday morning.

There were no injuries, minor damages to a warehouse, and some damages to its contents. All workers were evacuated from the facility, Blankenship said.

The Houston department dispatched 18 firefighters, three engines and a rescue truck about 4:45 a.m. to the facility, which manufactures polyfoam.

Reinforcements quickly arrived in the form of volunteer firefighters from Thorn, Southeast, Woodland, Van Vleet, Rhodes Chapel and Okolona.

“We found the fire had been contained by a warehouse sprinkler system, and we had the fire under control by 7:59 a.m. There was some damage to the contents, which we believe were rolls of polyfoam, but only minimal damages to the one-floor steel warehouse,” Blankenship said.

Firefighters secured from the scene about 8:43 a.m., he said.

The company was once known as MPI, and most people still, know it as that. Leggett & Platt acquired MPI in 1986. Leggett & Platt is an international company that produces residential bedding and furniture, automotive seating and industrial materials. The local facility produces foam backing for carpet.

The Houston facility operates two shifts and works about 125 people.