Picayune School Board sets goals for 2018-2019 school year and states "no tax increase"

Picayune School District Superintendent Dean Shaw presented the district's goals for the 2018-2019 school year at yesterday’s meeting of the Picayune School Board of Trustees.

Superintendent Dean Shaw presents 2018-2019 goals for school district

Shaw stated that the first goal of the district is to continue the practice of mentoring of first year teachers, but not limit this to only first year teachers. The principal of each school within the district can decide if the training is to be provided. The training is consists of a minimum of five days mentoring provided by retired teachers and if deemed necessary, additional days are provided..

Goal number two is focused on average daily attendance. Shaw stated that the school is committed to maintain it’s 93.20 percent from the previous year but will strive for 95 percent. He noted that funding received from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is based on numbers from October and November and MDE will award each school $5,000.00 to be used for supplies if a school maintains 95 percent or better.

Shaw stated that the October/November percentage for last year (2017) was 94.43. MDE accountability ratings from the state can be affected by as much as a letter grade if a school district drops below 92 percent during the year, according to Shaw. Shaw pointed out that last year the school encountered some increase absenteeism during December due to flu issues, stomach viruses, and weather related with snow days.

Picayune Police Major Chad Dorn, who is in charge of the Picayune School District's security and resource officers, pointed out that when a student misses school for 12 days of unexcused absences, the school can approach the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office to get a warrant against the parents in violation of the state statue. Dorn said that he served approximately 70 warrants last year, and while the parents are not necessarily arrested, that do receive paperwork that requires the parent to go to court.

According to Mississippi Code 37-13-91, the school can file charges against the parents of the student for “contributing to the educational neglect of the child” (misdemeanor) which can lead to fines as high as $1,000.00 per state statue.

Goal number three for the district to maintain a fund balance of 8 percent which is above the state mandate of 7 percent.

Goal number four, which Shaw stated is the most important, is to provide a safe and orderly school environment. Shaw pointed out that the close working relationship with the Picayune Police Department and the school resource officers now in place, play a major role in supporting this goal along with counselors, social workers, nurses, and a full time athletic trainer employed by the school district as well as training for the maintenance, transportation, and food service workers.

Shaw said goal number five is to improve student growth in reading, language arts, and math in grades 3 through 8 as well as related tests in subject areas. The district is striving to increase the percentage of students scoring in Level I and II by 2 percent, increase growth in Level III by 2 percent and Level IV and V by 1 percent. Shaw said meetings are scheduled next week with each principal to discuss this goals and to let principals know that they cannot let the current levels decrease, but must increase them in hopes to meet the stated goals.

According to District Finance Director Lisa Persick stated that the school district will not ask for a tax increase this year and will ask for level funding like what was received last year. Persick stated that she has been working with City Clerk Amber Hinton in getting this in place.

Eric Vianney, assistant coach on the Picayune Maroon Tide varsity basketball coaching staff for the past two seasons, will now take over as the head coach after being approved by the Picayune School Board of Trustees in yesterday’s meeting.

Vianney had a successful senior campaign as a player for the Maroon Tide helping the team to a 31-4 record and the Class 5A South State Championship in 2005. He chose to attend Illinois State on a full basketball scholarship, transferred to Tulane after one season and played three years at Tulane.