June 10, 2013 Rotogram: 44

Bulldog Athletics

Mississippi State University Athletic Director Scott Stricklin will review the successes of MSU teams this year and report on progress of the Davis-Wade Stadium expansion. David Boles will introduce him.

Next Week: GTR Airport

Rotarian Mike Hainsey, Golden Triangle Regional Airport director, updates us on the area’s 42-year-old transportation center. Stuart Vance will introduce him.

For the Record—June 3

Invocation and Pledge: Tommy Prentice

Attendance:                                   58.54%

Present — 105 (33 exempt, 1 honorary)

Absent — 73 (11 exempt, 10 honorary)

Makeups reported: Jeff Donald with Between the Lions, Ned Browning in Key West, Fla., Gary Jackson in Winona, John Rush in Greene County and Andy Gaston in West Point.

Guests: Member guests were Archie Anderson of Mike Cayson, Hugh Avant of Omis Avant, Brian Leslie of Tommy Tomlinson, Brother Rogers and Paul Millsaps of Rex Buffington, and Clyde Herring of Dora Herring. Guest of the Club was Giulia Martinoli, Youth Exchange student.

Old and new boards meet

As the 2012-2013 program year wanes, the incoming and outgoing boards will meet together at Harvey’s tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. New members are John Forde, Richard Blackbourn, Nancy Walsh, Bobby Crosland, Jeff Donald and Michelle Amos.

Meet a New Member

Micah Huffman, new district executive with the Pushmataha Area Boy Scouts Council, took a break from 60 Cub Scouts at Camp Seminole to introduce himself. The Meridian native just recently moved to Starkville.

He grew up in Scouting and decided in his junior year in college that he wanted to be a professional scouter. Huffman received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from MSU Meridian in May 2012. His scout executive duties include a lot of fund raising from troop popcorn sales to council-level Friends of Scouting.

Meeting Notes

  • President Debra reported that John Robert Arnold is at home following his hospital stay with a broken hip on the eve of his 90th birthday celebration.
  • Joe Bumgardner, Attendance Committee chair, recognized 29 members who missed no more than one meeting over the past quarter: Grant Arinder, Larry Anthony, Larry Box, Ned Browning, Peggy Buckley, Joe Bumgardner, Frank Chiles, Ed Clynch, Tom Dawkins, Happy Deas, Melissa Dixon, Jeff Donald, Brent Fountain, Andy Gaston, Mark Guyton, Carey Hardin, Debra Hicks, Shelton Jones, Nelson Jones, Eddie Keith, Don Lasell, Hank Mosley, Larry Mullins, Corey Ravenhorst, Keith Remy, Nellah Taylor, Alan Tucker, Martha Wells and Loren Zimmerman. Guyton’s name was drawn for a Harvey’s dining for two certificate.

 School Districts’ Consolidation and Planning

June 3 — In the midst of establishing a strategic plan for the Starkville School District, the school board was handed the challenge of consolidating with the Oktibbeha County School District.

Rotarian Lewis Holloway, Starkville School District superintendent, has completed his first year with the system and reported on its state.

“Public education is essential for our community to attract industry and university faculty,” said Holloway. “As to the consolidation, I really don’t have a lot of information, but can report some ideas that have developed.”

The Commission on Starkville-Oktibbeha County School District Structure was established in the Mississippi Legislature’s 2013 regular session. House Bill 716 was authored by Toby Barker of Hattiesburg.

“I can’t answer why we were targeted. Hattiesburg has failing schools. Why not work on them?” said Holloway. “State Senator Gary Jackson tells me when they target small pockets, they don’t build strong resistance. One thing that has to change is how house districts are gerrymandered. We need more local representation in the legislature.”

The commission’s first meeting was in Jackson under the chairmanship of Interim Deputy State Education Superintendent Larry Drawdy. The second meeting was in Starkville on June 6. Sessions will alternate between county and city district board rooms.

Commission members include David Shaw, MSU vice president for Research and Economic Development; Margie Pulley, OCSD conservator; Holloway; Orlando Trainer, Oktibbeha County supervisor; Lee Brand, school board member; and, Rex Buffington, executive director of the Stennis Center for Public Service.

“A lot of things that will affect consolidation will evolve out of the Department of Justice,” said Holloway. “Both districts are under mandatory desegregation orders. And, there’s a judge attached to each of those who has a say-so in how we consolidate schools.”

“Gary Jackson worked very hard to get this pushed back,” said Holloway. “I agree totally with Gary that we should do a study committee before we mandate consolidation. We got the committee, but still are set to consolidate on July 1, 2015.

A key concession is that for three years after consolidation the new system will not be accountable for any accreditation rating. Local officials had hoped to keep ratings separate while running two systems.

The county needs improvements that cost millions of dollars. Building issues require a bond issue, but the county has never passed one.

“We don’t have space to just roll the county into the city,” said Holloway. “We already are serving their ROTC, special education, technical education and alternative school.”

“We will discuss the possibility of enrolling students in other counties schools closer to their homes,” he said. “For example West Lowndes has excess capacity in its new high school.”

“When Larry Box was superintendent, the school board agreed to take the county, but at the last minute, the county backed out,” said Holloway. “We don’t want our district brought down. We want their district brought up.”

The Starkville district spent the last year developing a strategic plan. Eighty community members participated in establishing eight goals that are directional, not just “check offs”:

  1. Accelerate academic achievement for every child and close achievement gaps so every child graduates college/career-ready.
  2. Ensure every class in every school has an effective teacher who is led by an effective principal served by quality support staff.
  3. Initiate and expand innovative partnerships with the community that engage students.
  4. Establish a culture of pride, trust and respect in schools that fosters a safe and secure learning environment.
  5. Maximize performance utilizing data-informed and evidence-based decision-making.
  6. Increase technology access and integration to support inspired learning and teaching.
  7. Maximize facilities to promote an environment that enhances learning.
  8. Communicate proactively and transparently to strengthen public trust, culture of high engagement, customer service and cultural competency.

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