Some will think that it is a little late to discuss these matters in light of the fact that school consolidation is done deal and the Mound Bayou Schools will no longer operate as a separate entity. However, there are some concerns held by the taxpayers of the district that I have spoken with.
The first concern is how school funds are spent. It is clear to me that all funds received by a school district are received for a specific purpose and should be spent only for that purpose. While I will be the first to agree that every entity should maintain reserves for contingencies but to hoard funds means that the funds are not benefiting those that they are made available for. Here in the Mound Bayou School District we have not addressed the basic issues of health and safety. For example, certain sections of John F. Kennedy have been leaking for years. Moisture and water deteriorates a structure and it promotes mold growth as well. This puts our children at risk for contracting illness.
Also, basic supplies necessary to operate the district are provided at a bare minimum. I have a child attending the school and at the start of school at the top of his material list was copy paper and paper towels, yet the district maintains an excessive balance in the bank account.
The Mound Bayou School District now has approximately three million dollars in the bank, which is difficult to understand when the facilities are falling apart. It is doubtful if the neighboring district of Cleveland maintains such a high balance and they have a much larger tax base. Each year the Board of Trustees conducts a walk through of facilities and makes observations but corrective action is never taken. I am sure that at some point these matters are addressed in regular meetings but this board allows the Chief Administrative Officer to do as he pleases. In most organizations if the administrator does not carry out the directives of the board action is taken against that administrator. It appears that the majority of the board is doing what the administrator wants even if it is not in the best interest of the children. The sitting board took an action in approving the budget that is unheard of. This board approved a budget with no line item descriptions, just accounting codes. Unless one has experience with school fund accounting you have no clue what the projected spending is for. Hopefully, the board that is to be elected will be more compassionate about educating children.
My greatest fear is that the three million dollars being held in the bank will be spent in a helter skelter, hit or miss fashion to avoid leaving it for the consolidated district to utilize. No concrete plan of how facility deficiencies will be addressed. Hopefully these issues will be approached in a responsible and productive manner. I welcome consolidation, hopefully, a board will be put in place and this board will be less political and have at heart what is best for the students.