Houlka school board elects new leaders
Ruby Hollin was named the Chickasaw County School Board President for 2013. Michelle Collums is the vice-chairman and Jamie Earp was appointed secretary. Hollin replaced 2012 president Kenneth Linton.
“I think we had a pretty good year,” said Linton. “We saw a lot of change and I think we will continue to see a lot of change in education this year.”
Linton said the naming of Dr. Betsy Aron Collums to replace long time Chickasaw County Superintendent Kathy Austin was probably the biggest change.
“I think Dr. Collums has done well,” said Linton. “We also had the lady who wanted to move her children to another school district. Transfer issues are governed by federal and state law and despite what we wanted to do in our heart, we just couldn’t legally do it.”
The board was approached by a parent of three children in August saying her family had experienced a series of setbacks and recently bought property in Chickasaw County. She pointed out her oldest child was a senior, a lifelong student at Pontotoc City Schools and involved in a number of extra curricular activities.
The parent had approached Superintendent Dr. Betsy Collums who told her all such releases had to be approved by trustees.
School board attorney James Hood reminded the board they were under U.S. Justice Department guidelines from a 1972 segregation ruling and there had to be solid ground to deviate from established school policy.
Trustees voted to deny the request.
“A lot of people think you ought to do this or you ought to do this,” said Linton. “It’s not that easy and this school district must follow state and federal guidelines.”
In other business:
• The board approved a budget amendment to cover the payment of $1,000 in insurance deductible costs following an accident with the district’s driver education car. The accident occurred in the school parking lot.
• Trustees voted to rehire James Hood as school board attorney.
• Chickasaw County financial administrator Connie Phillips said lower than expected gasoline and butane costs have the district under budget. Phillips pointed out the county is at the half-way point in the budget year and well below 50-percent in expenditures in most line items.
• Trustees approved travel for teachers and school administrators, a list of fundraisers and a list of substitutes for the second semester.
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