By Monique Harrison

Daily Journal

The Tupelo School Board voted Tuesday to request engineering estimates on a reroofing project at Lawhon Elementary.

The vote came after a plea to the board from the vice president of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

“I’m not exaggerating here,” said Danny Foster, who brought along mounted photographs of the Lake Street school’s leaking roof and water-damaged floor tile. “The roof is literally falling in. Teachers have buckets stacked up in their classrooms, and when the rain begins to fall, students know exactly where to put those buckets to catch the drops. It’s pretty bad.”

Superintendent Mike Vinson said some patchwork might be done to ease conditions at the school until reroofing could begin.

“I assure you any patching would be kept to a minimum so we can solve the more serious problem,” Vinson said. “Obviously this is serious.

Vinson said tile work could likely be done by maintenance officials within the district.

The board also heard a presentation by Tupelo High School band director Floyd Stevens, who was requesting money for new band uniforms.

Twenty-five of the school’s uniforms are 14 years old, while another 100 are 13 years old. Fifty new uniforms were purchased in 1992.

Stevens said the average life of the $300 uniforms is 10 years.

“We’ve gotten our use out of these uniforms,” Stevens said, as he held up a tattered uniform for examination by school board members.

He said some of the oldest uniforms have been retired, while others have been paired with parts of other uniforms, giving the Golden Wave Band about 140 usable uniforms.

Stevens said he’d like to see 100 new uniforms purchased, saying if the district could not afford the $31,000 cost at once, the purchase could be divided over two years, with 50 uniforms purchased both years.

The band currently has about 105 members, but Stevens said he expects to have about 130 next year. Uniforms would be received about six months from the time of order. The board took no action on the request, saying they would take it under advisement.

Band Boosters money typically goes to pay for the group’s traveling expenses and Stevens said there was little money left over to pay for uniforms.

The board also heard a report from district energy manager Brady Garrett, who said the district has managed to save about $87,000 on water, electricity and gas bills since the Energy Education Co. began working with the district seven months ago. The company charges a monthly fee of $5,900 to promote sound energy management throughout the district.

In other business the board:

– Recognized participants in the districtwide spelling bee.

– Discussed the possibility of changing the way principals are evaluated. Several board members have expressed concern because the evaluations are not made available until after contract decisions for the next year have already been made.

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