By Lana Noonan, Special to Slabbed New Media
What looked like a rather boring agenda for the May 11, 2015 Bay-Waveland School Board meeting turned out to be rather interesting. First up was Superintendent Ladner presenting awards to School District retirees and students who had excelled in academics and arts.
In the Superintendent’s report Ms. Ladner covered the Third Grade Reading Gate Test Scores that were just released on Friday, May 8. Out of some 160 3rd graders, 91% passed with an average score of 998. The lowest score that could be made to pass was 926, and the highest score that could have been achieved was 1200.
When the Business Manager took the podium to give the first update on the upcoming budget, he was interrupted early on by Trustee Benvenutti who asked, “Do you have any copies for the Board of the information you are reading from. I am not a CPA and certainly won’t remember all of this.”
Superintendent Ladner spoke up and said that they didn’t really want people having this information on the budget at this time as it is a work in progress. Benvenutti shot back, “who do you mean by “people?’ We are the Board who will have to approve this budget, and I want this information. Can you arrange for it to be emailed to us no later than tomorrow?” Ladner agreed.
There was a pretty lengthy discussion on what to do to remedy the ongoing situation at the football field concerning the drainage problem under the bleachers. Bill Carrigee, the new project manager, advised the Board that in order to do the job right and finish it, he would recommend breaking up the concrete under the section of bleachers that are affected, dismantling the bleachers and then reassembling them once the drainage is in place. This will be an additional $170,000 on an already multi-million dollar project.
Dale Polh, art teacher at Waveland Elementary, stood and spoke from the audience during the Community Input section of the meeting. She actually removed her personnel badge and told the Board she wanted to speak to them as a parent to encourage them to please find room in their budget this year for music for the students in the school district. She said that she is approached by parents all the time as to why there is no classroom music. Superintendent Ladner and Board President Ponder both agreed that it was going to be part of the budget this year. We’ll see.
The highlight of the evening was the Bay St. Louis City Engineer’s appearance before the Board on behalf of the Mayor Les Fillingame asking the School Board for $50,000 in start up funds for a Safe Way to School Project which would be composed of sidewalks for the 400 ft. of road from behind Domino’s Pizza on Carroll Ave to the school campus on Pine St. The project was quoted by the City Engineer as costing somewhere around $250,000.
Superintendent Ladner quickly said that she could not legally endorse giving these funds to the city because this project is not on school property. After some discussion, it was decided that the Superintendent, Trustee Mike Bell, and Mayor Fillingame would get together to discuss the project.