By STEVEN NALLEY
Oktibbeha County School District Conservator Jayne Sargent held a special-called meeting Monday to meet deadlines for the school district’s budget and its Title I policies and procedures, among other items related to policy and documentation.
Sargent said the budget has not changed since the OCSD Board of Directors last discussed it, before that board was removed to make way for the state’s takeover of the OCSD. As such, the budget’s total projected revenue remains at $11,223,915.96, with 30.89 percent generated by ad valorem tax levy.
“It just had to be finally approved by Oct. 15,” Sargent said. “I wanted to be sure this budget was approved on time, and the drop-dead date was Oct. 15. That’s why it was a specially called meeting. It’s usually approved earlier in most districts.”
Sargent said other items on the agenda were primarily policy-related, specifically concerning documentation of policy that must be reported to the state and federal level in a timely manner. For example, she said, the board needs to have its policy for working with homeless children available to receive Title I funds used to work with those children.
“The homeless (policy) hasn’t changed; we just wanted to make sure the policy was on the record,” Sargent said. “It has to be approved by your board that says the district will use the money appropriately. The federal programs are looked at periodically, (and) Oktibbeha County is up for (what is called) a documentation review. Every school and the central office has to be ready with necessary folders and paperwork that matches what they said they were going to do.”
Some policies, such as the crisis management plan, were available but needed to be updated to comply with updated state and federal standards, Sargent said, including the school’s crisis management policy.
Other policies are new for this year, she said, including a wellness policy for the school’s food service program.
“You want to make sure your employees and your board and your leadership understand the law,” Sargent said. “I’m trying to do as best I can to make sure all policies are updated. Not all policies have been updated appropriately, is the best way I can say it.”
Sargent said Title I programs in particular will be audited Nov. 1-2. To ensure the OCSD is prepared for this and other documentation review, she said, the hiring of a consultant to pre-assess the documentation was added to the agenda.
“We usually get someone not inside the district, someone who would have a clean eye,” Sargent said. “It happens in many districts.”
An executive session was held to authorize the retirement of an elementary school teacher, Sargent said, but no employees at any school were terminated at Monday’s meeting. She said discussions of employee competence may occur at later meetings, and the next one is scheduled for Nov. 5 at noon. Previously, she said, school board members would hold meetings at 6 p.m. after finishing with their work days, but since Sargent serves in the capacity of both school superintendent and school board, there is no need to wait until late in the day.
“If any members of the public would like to come,” Sargent said, “it’s at lunch time, (so) they would have an opportunity.”