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Tupelo School Board OKs summer school, studies moving Pre-K classes

By Jane Hill

Daily Journal

The Tupelo School Board approved plans to resume a summer school program at Tupelo High School, provided that the students who use the program pay tuition for the courses they take.

David Meadows, director of curricular instruction, outlined a plan to the board Tuesday that would allow both for advanced and specialized courses for students who would like to take electives during summer school as well as remedial math and English courses for students who need credits to graduate.

The program would work in conjunction with the extended year program in place now that permits students who missed a lot of class time during the regular school year to make up that time and acquire the skills needed to finish the course without having to take the course over again.

Students would be charged $200 in tuition for each class they wanted to take or retake, Meadows said. Students from outside the district who wanted to take remedial or extracurricular courses would be required to pay more tuition than students from within the district, possibly twice as much.

The tuition money would be used to pay the teachers who work during the summer semester, which would begin June 4. It has been about four years since Tupelo High School has offered summer school courses.

Board member George Pulliam said a method was needed to help students who do not have the ability to pay tuition costs. Meadows said the administration is looking into setting up a grant program to deal with that problem.

Board member Dr. Charles Robertson suggested that money taken for out-of-district tuition might be used to subsidize the cost of tuition for students who cannot afford to pay.

Working toward a Pre-K campus

The board authorized Dr. Glenn McGee to pursue a plan to modify three empty buildings on the Lawhon Elementary School campus to serve as a minicampus for the HeadStart and prekindergarten classes now offered by the district.

A cafeteria, an old industrial arts building and an old band hall could be quickly modified to serve the almost 200 students who currently attend HeadStart and prekindergarten, McGee said.

The rough estimate on the cost of repairing and modifying the buildings is $40,000. Major expenses in the project would be re-roofing the cafeteria building, which is now leaking, and installing a central heating and cooling unit.

Having a separate campus for the younger children would ease overcrowding at other elementary campuses, McGee said. He said he envisions the program being operated separately from the Lawhon Elementary school.

Board members authorized McGee to get a firmer cost estimate on the work and to seek input from Lawhon administrators and teachers.

Sports field plans

James Sloan, athletic director and head football coach at Tupelo High School, reported to the board on the progress made by the athletic facilities steering committee in finding space for baseball, softball and tennis court facilities at the Tupelo High School campus.

The committee is seeking space and funding for a baseball field, a girls softball field and seven tennis courts, but may advise the school district to buy more land near the THS campus to do it, Sloan said. It has been one goal of the committee to try to get all the sports facilities used by high school students on the high school campus, he said.

Current estimates put the cost of constructing these facilities at $1.5 million, not including the cost of any future land purchase. Lighting for the fields would be moved from old Robbins Field, Sloan said.

Sloan said the steering committee is looking at private donations or a bond issue to pay for construction of the facilities.

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