Swinford wins one, loses two in vwsd meeting


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Swinford wins one, loses two in vwsd meeting

  1. 1. <b>Swinford wins one, loses two in VWSD meeting</b><br> <i>Scholastic program to include more students; two top hires denied</i> 6/2/12 11:05 AM print Swinford wins one, loses two in VWSD meeting Scholastic program to include more students; two top hires denied by Pamela Hitchins 06.01.12 - 12:05 pm Split votes on three proposals considered by trustees of the Vicksburg Warren School District Thursday night handed Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford a victory on one request and defeat on the other two. At their regular monthly business meeting, board members agreed to double to 160 the enrollment for the Scholastic Academy pilot program for high-achieving seventh- and eighth-graders. The board in March approved the program for 80 students, beginning when school resumes in August. The school day for those students will be extended by 70 minutes, and four additional teachers will be hired to staff the classrooms. Voting in favor were District 1 Trustee and board president Bryan Pratt, District 2 Trustee Zelmarine Murphy and District 5 Trustee Sally Bullard, with nay votes from vice president and District 3 Trustee Jim Stirgus Jr. and Joe Loviza of District 4. Then, following a nearly one-hour closed session, Swinford was denied her choices to fill two top-level vacancies. The openings came with the retirements of assistant superintendent Debra Hullum and transportation manager David Keen. Swinford wanted to promote current Vicksburg Junior High School Principal Dr. Michael Winters to be her assistant, and transportation office veteran Fred Barnum to manage the district’s busing. Voting no on Winters’ promotion were Stirgus, Loviza and Pratt. Stirgus, Loviza and Murphy opposed Barnum’s. Swinford had no comment and trustees gave no explanation for their votes. “They’re very important positions,” Swinford said this morning. “I will readvertise and expand the search. That’s what I was appointed to do.” Loviza, Bullard and Stirgus left the meeting before the decisions were announced, and the public meeting was not reconvened in order to announce the actions taken in executive session. Instead, Pratt, after speaking privately for about 10 minutes with Murphy, Swinford and board attorney Briggs Hopson III, allowed observers in and reported on the closed session votes.http://vicksburgpost.com/printer_friendly/18826813 Page 1 of 4
  2. 2. <b>Swinford wins one, loses two in VWSD meeting</b><br> <i>Scholastic program to include more students; two top hires denied</i> 6/2/12 11:05 AM Earlier, when discussion about filling the positions was moved to executive session, Loviza chastised Swinford for not involving the board in her selection process. “We have specifically asked the superintendent to let us know who is applying for these main administrative jobs... and we have had at least three that have been brought to the school board in the past year that we had no idea who even applied,” Loviza said. He questioned why the positions were not advertised outside the district and why “more people who have excellent qualifications within our district” were not interviewed. Swinford rebutted that the positions were advertised as required by state law and district policy, and that 17 individuals had been interviewed for the two positions. “Everything was done in accordance with (VWSD) policy,” she said. “I am implementing policies that you all gave me to work with.” About a dozen parents were present for the discussion about Scholastic Academy, which referenced but did not include the specifics of complaints Loviza and other officials had received about the selection process. Swinford denied attempting to expand the program simply to appease upset parents. “We had at least 37 students that qualified that did not make the program,” she said, adding a number of applications also were received after the deadline. They might add to the number of eligible students and could provide better data with which to evaluate the pilot, she said. Bullard called the program “a huge opportunity” that should be available to every qualified student who wants to take advantage of it. “Why are we turning children down that need it? That want it?” she said. “All this is going to do is increase our AP kids at the high school.” After the meeting, Stirgus said he supports the program and its goals but is concerned about hiring additional teachers. “This is a pilot program,” he said. “If it does not succeed, where are the additional teachers going to go?” Scholastic Academy will use project-based, nontraditional methods of teaching the four core subject areas — math, English, social studies and science — in 75- minute classes, said Paula Johnson, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Regular junior high periods run about 55 minutes. Extension of the school day for those students will allow them to also take two electives, she said.http://vicksburgpost.com/printer_friendly/18826813 Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. <b>Swinford wins one, loses two in VWSD meeting</b><br> <i>Scholastic program to include more students; two top hires denied</i> 6/2/12 11:05 AM In other business, trustees voted without comment to increase pay scales for all employees in the district. Swinford said salary schedules will be bumped 2 to 3 percent, about the equivalent of an average step raise. On the agenda Meeting Thursday, the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees: • Approved minutes from April 26. • Accepted cash donations: for Warren Central High School, $500 from Elks Lodge No. 95 for Future Teachers of America activities for the special prom; and for the VWSD, $360 from the City of Vicksburg for career fair advertising expenses; and capital asset donations: one walkie-talkie set with charger and extra battery valued at $2,000 from the Vicksburg Police Department. • Approved amendments to the 2011-12 budget through April and the accounts payable claims docket for May. • Approved personnel matters: compensation for extra duties, April; certified staff recommendations for 2012-13 school year; and classified staff recommendations for 2012-13. • Approved out-of-state travel for: Warren Central High School Big Blue Band members and parents to attend the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship in Atlanta, July 27-29; WCI students scoring advanced or proficient on the 2012 MCT2 test to travel to Blue Bayou Water Park in Baton Rouge in September; WCHS Madrigal and Total Sound choral groups to compete in the Heritage Music Festival in Chicago, March 20-24; Warren Central Junior High School Boys Club to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis in July; Sherman Avenue Elementary School lead and model teachers to attend the National Conference on School Discipline in Atlanta, June 27-30; and one WCHS history teacher to attend AP training for certification in Monroe, La., during the summer. • Approved a list of surplus/no longer serviceable capital assets for disposal. • Ratified telephone votes of board members to schedule and staff employee hearings. • Approved district policies on Acceptable Use of Technology and Internet Safety, to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act to address education of minors about online behavior and cyberbullying awareness and response. • Approved beginning the bid process for diesel fuel for 2012-13. • Approved leasing driver’s education vehicles for 2012-13 from low bidderhttp://vicksburgpost.com/printer_friendly/18826813 Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. <b>Swinford wins one, loses two in VWSD meeting</b><br> <i>Scholastic program to include more students; two top hires denied</i> 6/2/12 11:05 AM Blackburn Motors: midsized vehicles at $419 per month, full size, $469 per month, plus 15 cents per mile for usage over 7,000 miles. • Approved the annual application to the Mississippi Department of Education outlining use of federal funds received through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and its parental involvement policy. • Initiated review of revised Guidelines for English Language Learners manual, to be voted on at the board’s June meeting. • Approved 16th Section Land matters: renewal of right-of-way lease on a Bovina parcel for 25 years to Southcross Energy (purchaser of former leaseholder Mississippi Fuel Corp.) for a lump sum payment at fair market value determined by a new appraisal, but not less than $17,172; permission to the Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission to build a walking trail at Clear Creek Golf Course (Bovina parcel); and awarding hunting and fishing rights on Rawhide, Yazoo-Warren Line, Bovina (two parcels), Oak Ridge and Blakely parcels. • Approved job descriptions for a public relations/information officer and an educational technology and information officer, two new positions created out of the former position of director of information management. The positions will be paid at about the level of teacher salaries. • Approved revised student handbooks for the 2012-13 school year. • Approved contracting for an accidental medical insurance policy for athletics and extracurricular activities from Planned Benefit Services Inc., of Montgomery, for $83,135 annually. • Awarded the bid for construction of the Vicksburg High School field house to low bidder Dirtworks Inc., for $784,000. In closed session, the board: • Discussed the character and job performance of proposed assistant superintendent for operations and transportation manager and a physical education teacher. The board denied the recommendation of the superintendent to fill the administrative positions and took no action with regard to the teacher. • Considered a student transfer and requested confirmation of residence from the parent. © vicksburgpost.com 2012http://vicksburgpost.com/printer_friendly/18826813 Page 4 of 4