Corinth Head Start still interested in campus

town_corinth_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The Corinth centers of Head Start, operated by Mississippi Action for Progress based in Jackson, remain interested in using the campus of the former East Corinth Elementary School to consolidate their students in one location.

Regional Administrator Deborah Cooper made a second appeal to the Corinth city board during their regular meeting this week that the organization be given the opportunity to occupy two buildings on the campus. MAP is asking to purchase the facilities for $1, with a reverter clause if Head Start no longer operated in the buildings, or a $1 per year lease of the buildings.

Head Start is a federal program in the Office of Health and Human Services that helps children from birth to 5 years old in low-income families prepare for school in the areas of cognitive, social and emotional development.

The federal Head Start office awards grants to public and private agencies like MAP through the country to provide services in communities.

Corinth Head Start currently operates in two facilities, one with about 60 children on the west side of the city off U.S. Highway 72 and one with about 56 children on the east on Kendrick Road.

The agency would like to consolidate all of the children at the East Corinth campus, which is closer to the communities where the low-income children live, Cooper said.

Several board members expressed concern that the cost of renovating the facilities for the proposed use and ongoing upkeep might be too high.

However, Cooper said the facilities had been evaluated by MAP staff responsible for facilities operations and maintenance, and they feel it is well within the agency’s means.

Board members asked that Cooper submit a detailed request and proposal that also addresses these financial concerns.

The city finalized a lease agreement on Feb. 21, with the Easom Outreach Foundation for the South Corinth campus that gives the nonprofit use of the South Corinth facilities for 99 years.

Mayor Tommy Irwin said recently that the plan is to offer the West Corinth campus for bid.

Three schools were vacated by the Corinth School District in late 2010 after a new Corinth Elementary School was built that allowed students from the three campuses to be consolidated at Corinth Elementary School and Corinth Middle School.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com