EMCC Breaks Ground on Communiversity

BY BRIAN JONES brian.jones@packet-media.com MAYHEW – National, state and local dignitaries attended the groundbreaking for East Mississippi Community College’s Communiversity on Dec. 9. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves was the keynote speaker. The Communiversity is a workforce training facility that will be located on the frontage road west of the Paccer site, on about 30 acres of land donated by the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. The $42 million project includes a 135,000 square foot facility will provide job training for EMCC students and dual enrollment classes for high school students. It was developed through a partnership between EMCC, the...

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City Schools Discuss Budget Committee, Fund Balance

BY BRIAN JONES brian.jones@packet-media.com COLUMBUS – At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Columbus Municipal School Board discussed a proposed budget advisory committee and the current fund balance. At a previous meeting Trustee Jason Spears asked that the district establish a budget advisory committee to work with the board as it goes through the yearly budget process. He presented a committee charter to the board Monday night. Spears’ plan called for the committee, which had no voting or enforcement power, to meet once a month. Each trustee would appoint one member, and each member would be paid $20 per hour, not to exceed $40 per month. The committee would receive current budget information and would evaluate past budget trends, and then “offer recommendations, insights and factual findings to the CMSD for consideration.” Meetings would be held monthly between February and May. Budget hearings are typically held in the last summer. Board Attorney David Dunn said that he had reviewed Spears’ proposal and had some concerns with some items, especially the compensation. “I have found no authority in attorney general’s opinions or statutory opinions for payment to an advisory committee,” he said. “I would recommend that you allow me to request an AG’s opinion on that to see if compensation can be paid. There is an opinion or two that indicates that expenses can be covered, but there is no clear...

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Rinehart, Former Alcorn County Sheriff, Nulls Enter Guilty Pleas

State Auditor Stacey Pickering announces Charles Rinehart, former Sheriff of Alcorn county and Teddy Null and Pamela Denise Null, of Corinth, pled guilty to 2 counts of conspiracy to defraud and 2 counts of fraud against Alcorn County. Rinehart and Denise Null were sentenced to serve two years House Arrest and three years Post Release Supervision under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Teddy Null was sentenced to serve one year House Arrest and four years Post Release Supervision under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. “I wish to thank District Attorney John Weddle and his staff for their work and partnership throughout the duration of this case,” Auditor Pickering said. “I appreciate their serious commitment to fighting public corruption in Mississippi.” Rinehart was Sheriff for Alcorn County from 2008 to...

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County School Board Briefed on District Scores

BY BRIAN JONES brian.jones@packet-media.com COLUMBUS – At its Dec. 9 meeting, the Lowndes County School Board got an in-depth look at its most recent accountability results from Assistant Superintendent Robin Ballard and the principals. Ballard said that the district held on to its B rating and some schools actually made gains, in spite of being warned by the state that scores would likely be lower thanks to the new assessment. The accountability results for 2015-16 were:  Caledonia Elementary School: B, was an A last year.  Caledonia Middle School: B, unchanged from last year.  Caledonia High School: B, unchanged from last year.  New Hope Elementary School: C, was a B.  New Hope Middle School: B, unchanged from last year.  New Hope High School: B, unchanged from last year.  West Lowndes Elementary School: C, was a B.  West Lowndes High School: F, was a C. The scores were derived from the Mississippi Accountability Program, which is the third test the state has used in the past three years. It previously used the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career and, before that, the Second Generation Mississippi Curriculum Test. The MAP is considered to be harder than either the MCT2 or the PARCC. To compensate the state froze schools’ accountability ratings for two years, and they were allowed to use either the old score or the new one, whichever was...

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