Sid meet local noisemakers Rebecca and Les

I’ve been kicking this whole Bay-Waveland School District becoming the City of Bay St Louis’ capital projects fund around for a few days and I’m coming to a few inescapable conclusions that include the term malfeasance. Since Slabbed began covering local Hancock County government the only constant is the rate at which schemes are hatched by Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame, all of which costs money, a commodity everyone agrees is in short supply at the City of Bay St Louis. This does not stop the City Council from regularly being derelict in its statutorily charged duty to oversee the municipal purse, which in turn lends an Alice in Wonderland type quality to the entire sad affair.

I say this because we are now finding out the Bay-Waveland School District is so flush with money that it has extra to give the City for sidewalks, and not the ones promised to Councilman Reed and Compretta’s Districts along Old Spanish Trail earlier this year. Earlier this year though, Bay-Waveland Schools Superintendent Rebecca Ladner was sho’ nuff’ poor mouthin’ levels of education funding here in Mississippi and that is where I begin:

Being as how we are equal opportunity here at Slabbed we gotta give good ol’ Sid Salter the credit for inspiring this post:

Democrat’s rewrite of MAEP history short on fact ~ Sid Salter

I thought Sid’s column was superficial as there is plenty of blame to be spread around to both political parties for Mississippi’s well documented deficiencies in public education and that is where I think of history and not the partisan political variety. Once upon a time in Mississippi, 16th section tracts were routinely used as a source of political patronage at the expense of the school age kids and local levels of funding were at the whim of the Board of Supervisors or City Council, not the school board. These abuses were cured in the 1980’s under Governor William Winter and the Education Reform Act. But here in the Bay we’ve now come full circle.

It is at this point I feel compelled to point out the financial stewardship of the Bay-Waveland School Board has been abysmal. Since Slabbed burst onto the local scene in 2012 covering the Bay Tech Building Swindle, we’ve seen the school district waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a football field, parking lots and stands because the decision was made to skip soil sampling before ground was broke. But Bay Tech is what makes my point.

You see folks, back in 2012/2013 when Slabbed broke that story there was one event that I left off the timelines I prepared, an event which happened in March, 2012. This event in my mind explained the whole scheme and that would be the day when Wells Fargo sent their own appraiser to examine the proposed short sale of the building (vital background here.) In that appraisal report, the Wells Fargo appraiser included some quotes from Bay St Louis City Attorney Don Rafferty which indicated Mayor Fillingame knew about the proposed transaction. To the extent the Mayor appoints three of the five school board members this is not a surprise by any means.

My point in rehashing the ancient history is once again Mayor Fillingame has his eyes on more School District money, the proposed expenditure of which will not raise test scores one point but it will spread some money around to the Mayor’s friends.

There are reasons we don’t get a bang for our education tax dollar that go way beyond two party politics. Here in the Bay anyone so interested has a front row seat into the why.

6 thoughts on “Sid meet local noisemakers Rebecca and Les”

  1. Doug,
    Do you realize that there are two years left before another election in the Bay? If the School District becomes the Bay’s bank for these sidewalks or anything else, things could get very interesting financially and ethically around here. But, you did mention Bay Tech, and as we all know, pay backs are hell!!!
    The only problem is if the School Board pays for Les’ sidewalks, some of the money will have to come from Waveland taxpayers—what??? Yeah, we share the school district “The Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District.” Our money is in that till too.
    BUT—-we do NOT share any infrastructure or capital improvement funding or responsibilities with them. HELLO!!
    The Superintendent understands this—her quote from the May 11 School Board meeting—
    “I cannot be on record endorsing this because it is not on OUR (school district’s) property.” And the State Dept. of Education backed her up the next day with a Code # and an AG’s opinion.
    But the “powers that be” will finagle some way to do it because they seem to have the philosophy of a 2 year old–“If I like it, it’s mine!!!”
    In the end, this may be a door the School Board doesn’t want to open, and this time, unlike Bay Tech, they’d better make sure they know who has the key!!

  2. Can anyone suggest how to put the brakes on this administration? I would be willing to help. How can so many people be so blind to what is happening to their own community. Bay St. Louis has never in it’s history had so many inept leaders elected into office at one time. County Supervisors are not much better. Federal money poured into this county has corrupted everyone. They think it is a bottomless pit where they can draw huge amounts of cash to buy voters, placating them with useless projects. It’s shameful to use school tax money on a project that would benefit very few and not related to education. I would really love to know who is pulling the strings in this city. It is certainly not the mayor, but he does keep this person or persons quite busy cleaning up behind him after he opens his eyes each morning and then his mouth. And to touch on the subject of BSL being the fastest growing city in Mississippi, I would be willing to bet that if I put my house on the market, I would lose money on it. An out of town buyer would want to know why the home is in the city but not able to get city services. Not even a sidewalk.

      1. I need to try State Auditors Office. Someone at that office claims to know me. And I can assure you, not many people acknowledge that fact. It has been really bugging me, though, because his name is not familiar to me. He said I was a very nice person. Everyone knows better than that. I will get to the bottom of this mystery and maybe help our city.

  3. Many years ago in New Orleans there were a group of Women known as the “Broom Brigade” . Their group organized and the Goal was to Sweep the old Politicians out of office and put new ones in. Maybe it is time for this not only in City Politics, but most important School Board.
    Start Sweeping !!! That should be the Campaign Slogan this next election..

  4. The Alliance for Good Government has been in conversation with the AG’s Office and the State Auditor for the past two days pertaining to the attempt by Bay St,Louis city officials trying to use school district taxes to build sidewalks on Carroll Ave. in the Bay.
    Currently School officials and their attorney are going for an “Interlocal” agreent between Bay St.Louis and the School Board.
    The AG’s Office sent Codes and opinions to the effect that while school boards and municipalities can enter into Interlocal agreements, one circumstance that is prohibited is ifrastructure projects in municipalities. School boards are not legally authorized in Miss. to appropriate school taxes for capital improvements not on school property.
    This attempt by the Bay Officials is further complicated by the fact that Waveland also pays ad valor em taxes to the school district, which would mean taxpayers in another tax district would be funding a project in the Bay.
    Suffice it to say the Bay’s continuing money ills are not only killing them, but may be beginning to metastisize into surrounding communities.
    Waveland taxpayers need to be at their city meeting this Tues. because they are out numbered on that Bay. -Waveland school board by the 3 appointed by the Bay Mayor and Council. Politics at its worse.

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