FALKNER • The North Tippah School District held their monthly board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Falkner Elementary. Present were board members Chairperson LeAnn Martindale, Secretary Ronnie Huddleston, members Jim Jackson, Greg James, and Allen McMillian, and Superintendent Scott Smith.

The board voted 4-1 with Chairwoman Martindale dissenting to purchase the Xcavator’s Inc. building, located in front of Falkner Elementary. Superintendent Smith and the board discussed the potential uses for the building to enhance offerings for students at all campuses in the district. There is nothing concrete at the moment as to what will move to the newly acquired building but there were discussions about its potential benefit to the district including construction of a new road off Highway 15 to improve traffic flow entering Falkner Elementary.

The board and Smith discussed how all campuses in the district have significant facility needs and that projects have taken place at each one since spring. There was concern about the acquisition of the building due to the current needs of the district and the desire to have a plan available for the community to address upgrades at each campus. Superintendent Smith affirmed the district’s commitment to capital improvements at each school and that funds had been allocated for this year for these projects.

• The board voted to hire Arch Bullard of Clayton O’Donnell, PLLC, in Corinth as the new board attorney.

• Chase Wilbanks of the Town of Walnut Parks and Recreation Department addressed the board about the desire to begin a youth basketball league sponsored by the city. The league would utilize the gymnasiums at Walnut and Chalybeate with games taking place during times that the facilities were not used by the schools for athletic contests. The board took no action concerning the project and mentioned consulting the newly hired board attorney to review the existing liability policies associated with facility use.

• The board approved the test security plan for the district for the year.

• The board approved supplemental contracts for district personnel who have additional responsibilities beyond their teaching duties. They also discussed consulting the board attorney to ensure all supplemental contracts and stipends were compliant with state law and guidelines.

• The board approved substitute lists for the district’s schools and cafeterias.

• The board approved the final 2019-2020 budget for the district.

• Superintendent Smith discussed the state of the district and its known COVID cases. He stated that despite the governor’s decision to end a statewide mask mandate that masks are still required in school buildings. Board Member Jackson expressed concern that there were inconsistencies in the understanding of the mask requirement among some faculty and students. Smith stated he would notify school leadership masks were still required while on school grounds.

•  The board members returned their Mississippi School Board Association Member Surveys to district personnel and approved the MSBA policy changes to reflect the actions taken by the Mississippi Legislature in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

•  The board adjourned with no additional business. The next meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 pm.

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