ST superintendent appreciative of tuition help

RIPLEY – Meeting Monday morning, the Tippah County Board of Supervisors heard remarks from South Tippah Superintendent Frank Campbell. The superintendent discussed the recently-completed Event Center and an addition at Ripley Middle School which includes three classrooms and a new Media Center. He also discussed several other topics with supervisors. He told the board the district is preparing for the new school year, which will begin in earnest when students return to classrooms Wednesday, Aug. 5. “We have over 400 employees who will soon be serving over 2,700 kids on a daily basis. Campbell told supervisors: there will be more news coming from the district soon. “There will be more in coming weeks. I can’t discuss it at this point, but you’ll be proud of it,” he said. He thanked the board for agreeing 5-0 early last month to endorse in principle a plan to provide a free year of tuition at Northeast Mississippi Community College to all Tippah County graduating seniors. “That will be a tremendous economic benefit to the county,” he told the board. Several businesses involved in funding the program must work out an agreement about which students qualify, and other details. If that agreement can be worked out, students graduating in 2010 will be the first ones eligible. Kyle Smith of The Peoples Bank of Ripley – which is one of the businesses taking part in the program said at that time he and others would meet with the new mayors and boards from Ripley and Walnut to make sure they want to go along with previous administrations’ agreements to donate $10,000 to the tuition endowment fund. Last October Tippah supervisors voted 3-2 not to take part in the program. After last year’s vote, all of the supervisors said they favored the program, but the majority thought that the program should be funded with private donations rather than taxpayer funds. The county already annually provides taxpayer money directly to Northeast to pay teacher’s salaries and for other daily operations. The board now believes the changed criteria will let them support the program, Dist. 4 Supervisor Dennis Grisham said after the July vote. “Before, they didn’t have any stipulations as to who qualified and who didn’t. Now there will be qualifications, and that’s what allowed us to support this program,” he said. The CREATE Foundation started the program in 2007. The program guarantees $20,000 to each of three community colleges – Northeast, East Mississippi and Itawamba. That money must be matched by funds from sponsoring partners in each college’s district. By law, supervisors, and any participating municipal boards, can commit funds to the plan only for the balance of their terms.

Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel