Rienzi Elementary dispute discussed in closed-door meeting



By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today

The Alcorn School Board on Monday night took no action on the controversial former Rienzi Elementary School after a closed-door meeting.

Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams and four others went into the private meeting with the school board.

After he came out of the closed meeting, Williams said a certain clause in an agreement between the school board and the town of Rienzi was discussed.

When the school district transferred the former elementary school to Rienzi, there was an agreement that it could not be used as a school.

There was a clause in the agreement that said the school would revert back to the school district if the property was used for a school.

Despite the language in the agreement, the Rienzi mayor had planned for Pathway Christian Academy to go into the former elementary school.

Williams has said that he did not think the reverter clause in the agreement pertained to a private Christian academy, which, he said, was more like a church and did not receive state or federal funds.

Alcorn Superintendent Larry Mitchell has balked at that statement, saying, “Does it teach math? Does it teach English, science, history? That makes it a school. He (Williams) can call it whatever he wants to; call it an academy or whatever. But we told them plainly that if they use it for a school, it will revert back to us.”

The town voided a lease with the Christian academy after the school district raised concerns in a letter from its attorney.

After the closed-door meeting on Monday, Alcorn School Board President Randy Wilbanks told Corinth Today, “The reverter clause is still in place. Nothing’s changed.”

Accompanying Williams into the executive session were citizen Billy Johnson, Rienzi alderman candidate Jim Strickland and Rienzi aldermen Harold Palmer and Dale Leonard.

Once the meeting was reopened to the public, Wilbanks said board members took no action taken regarding “potential litigation at Rienzi.”

Mayor Williams told Corinth Today that the closed meeting with the board went “OK,” adding, “It’s left up to them.”

Williams also said he does not think there will be a lawsuit.

The board also went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter involving potential litigation. There was no action on that issue either.

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