That Pesky First Amendment comes up again…..

Here at Slabbed we’re the proverbial tip of the spear on the topic of other countries trying to force their speech mores on our constitutionally guaranteed rights here in the US. Just a few weeks ago the cartoon series South Park was banned in China because of a side-splitting funny episode involving Randy Marsh selling his Colorado weed there. Very recently the subject reared its head again with the NBA, Lebron and Enes Kanter, again with China and Chinese censors as the focal point. Lebron wants everyone to shut up and count the money while Kanter understands that Freedom is not free. When it comes to political expression (or covering a crooked local politician) I personally don’t give a damn what the Chinese think.

Last week there was a dust up at the Bay-Waveland School District involving a family that is not religious (whose name was mentioned in comments here) and the “establishment clause”, one of the 6 rights contained in the first amendment:

(1) the right to be free from governmental establishment of religion (the “Establishment Clause”)
(2) the right to be free from governmental interference with the practice of religion (the “Free Exercise Clause”)
(3) the right to free speech
(4) the right to freedom of the press
(5) the right to assemble peacefully (which includes the right to associate freely with whomever one chooses)
(6) the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Secular humanist group wants religion taken out of Bay-Waveland school system ~ Cassandra Favre

Some of the complaints listed by Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association have legal legs as teachers should refrain from sharing their religious views in the school house. Outside of the school house is a different story which would explain why Reverend Reed pushed back so hard against the notion that a voluntary prayer breakfast his church hosts for the football team crosses any lines because it doesn’t in my opinion. Continue reading “That Pesky First Amendment comes up again…..”

Bay-Waveland Schools earns an A on the latest MDE Accredition Results

Folks this never would have happened if Mike Favre had not cut the dead wood out of the school board (and central office) when he took office. Our readers may remember Mayor Favre took a whole bunch of heat when he made those changes. Today he gets to take a bow for doing the right thing and seeing it through. Superintendent Reed and her employees also deserve props for the major improvement.

Also of note was rural Stone County Schools also earned an A. The rural school districts in this state often do way more with less and that is the certainly the case with Stone.

The full results are on Scribd.

Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Bay Waveland Schools Lag in Four Year Graduation Rates

According to the Mississippi Department of Education “Four Year Graduation Rates” determine the high school completion status four years after students enter 9th grade for the first time.

In February of this year (2018) the State released the Four Year Graduation Rates for students who have been tracked since 2013-14 school year and expected to graduate this year (2018).

Here are the rankings of the 12 Coast School Districts from No. 1 to No. 12 achievement status for keeping students in school, and helping them achieve a high school diploma.

FOUR YEAR GRADUATION RATES OF COAST SCHOOL DISTRICTS

NO. 1 OCEAN SPRINGS—90.7%
NO. 2. JACKSON COUNTY–89.1%
NO. 3. GULFPORT——–87.6%
NO. 4. PASCAGOULA——87.3%
NO. 5. LONG BEACH——87.2%
NO. 6. PASS CHRISTIAN- 87.1%
NO. 7 POPLARVILLE—–86.7%
NO. 8 HARRISON COUNTY-85.5%
NO. 9 BILOXI———-83.2%
NO. 10 HANCOCK COUNTY–82.8%
NO. 11 BAY-WAVELAND—-81.6%
NO. 12 MOSS POINT——70.4%

I was concerned enough with the status of our two elementary schools in the Bay-Waveland District with North Bay rated a “C” campus, and Waveland a “D” by the State Department of Education.

When I read this report on the State Department website, it was heart sinking.

Our new Superintendent has her work cut out for her. We have spent a lot of tax payer dollars on brick, mortar, sod, bleachers, scoreboards, and asphalt, legal fees, and high end administrative salaries in the last four years–in the millions. Continue reading “Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Bay Waveland Schools Lag in Four Year Graduation Rates”

“Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into” Les: Singleton out at BWSD

I personally find the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government a much more authoritative resource….

Facebook Screen Capture of Hancock NAACP shillin' for Mayor Les Fillingame
Facebook Screen Capture of Hancock NAACP shillin’ for Mayor Les Fillingame

AG says Bay must appoint new school board trustee ~ Dwayne Bremer

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office has ruled that a 180-day grace period for reappointing officials does not apply to school boards.

Human-tool1
Artistic rendition of how former school board member Maurice Singleton would appear if he wore a tool costume.

Ya think? So why didn’t the Mayor reappoint his loyal political supporter Maurice Singleton? I’d posit ineptitude as we’ve seen plenty of examples of such but the Mayor had another explanation: Continue reading ““Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into” Les: Singleton out at BWSD”

Wednesday Omnibus: ICYMI

And there has been a lot happen since I descended into the salt mine. I appreciated the continued commentary on the situation in the Bay from the commenting community here. Last night there was a City Council meeting we’ll need to catch up on but first some of what else has happened here on the coast over the past 10 days or so first up in Hancock County.

One Assistant Superintendent for the Bay Waveland School District wasn’t enough therefore:

Two asst. superintendents for BWSD ~ Cassandra Favre

And we have us a Mayor’s race in the Bay!

Mike Favre set to challenge Les Fillingame in Bay mayor’s race ~ Dwayne Bremer

Meantime a very disturbing trend of turning over the Youth Court administrator position continues at a shadowy, troubled local judicial agency:

Personnel change at youth court ~ Dwayne Bremer

Regarding the above I recommend following the money on the drug testing to gain a greater understanding of Hancock County’s child welfare industrial complex.

Next up Congressman Steven Palazzo is still hiding from his constituents: Continue reading “Wednesday Omnibus: ICYMI”

Hancock Schools District Consolidation Study Committee Meets

By Lana Noonan – Special to Slabbed

The first meeting of the Committee to Study the Consolidation of the Two School Districts in Hancock County was held Tuesday in the Bay St. Louis City Council Chambers.

Ron Thorp, Co-Chairman of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government put together a very well thought out and structured cost study program to provide information for the public with regard to what the taxpayers in Hancock County are spending to have two School Districts.

Each member received a packet of the subject areas to be investigated and their particular topic to gather facts on and report back next month. The subject areas to be studied are: Legal expenses, Transportation, Alternative School, Travel/Special Student Expense, Purchasing, Consultants, Administration/ Debt Consolidation, School Board Consolidation, Insurance, Maintenance, State Fees, Dues and Organizations.

Some early figures were obtained by the committee members. For instance the current Maintenance Budgets for the two Districts are:

Hancock School District Current Maintenance Budget–$3,969,883.20, which includes $820,000 insurance, with custodial services, grass cutting and lawn services out sourced to private contractors. These expenses are being incurred for a student body of 4,552 students and 7 campuses.

Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District Maintenance Budget— $2,766,136.83, which includes facility employees ( no number given), janitorial employees (no number given), supplies, equipment, and repairs for 1,865 students and 4 campuses. Bay-Waveland’s insurance cost approximately $800,000 two years ago, and was not included as part of the Maintenance Budget. Continue reading “Hancock Schools District Consolidation Study Committee Meets”

Guest Editorial: City of Bay St Louis Infrastructure Improvements Must be Legally Funded

At the May 11, meeting of the Bay St. Louis – Waveland School Board, Jason Chinche, the City Engineer for Bay St. Louis representing the Mayor made a funding request of the School Board of $50,000 in “start-up” money for an infrastructure project on the extension of Carroll Ave. north of Highway 90 for approximately 900 ft. of sidewalk for a total cost of some $200,000.

Before the conversation started between the Engineer and the Board, Superintendent Rebecca Ladner, spoke up and said that she could not be on record endorsing school district funds for this project because it is on city property, not school district property. Her statement apparently fell on deaf ears because the Board and their attorney agreed to investigate how the funding could be arranged. Mind you, this item was on the Action Agenda of the School Board meeting. Had the Superintendent not spoken up, the Board may have issued the funds right there.

In a conversation with the State Department of Education on May 12, the Finance Office told me that Superintendent Ladner was correct, and that school districts cannot donate money, only services and facilities. Both city governing bodies have been advised by the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government of this with Miss. Code and Attorney General’s Opinions provided by the State Department of Education. Unfortunately the Bay St. Louis Mayor and School Board Attorney are currently attempting an interlocal agreement between the two entities, the School Board and the City of Bay St. Louis, for this $50,000 in school district funds to be transferred to Bay St. Louis city accounts.

Since the Bay St. Louis Mayor and School Board attorney ( and some School Board members) decided to pay no attention to the Superintendent and the State Department of Education, the Alliance for Good Government approached the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the State Auditor for opinions.

Their opinions, based on what they referred to as a similar case in New Albany, Miss. where the city requested funding from the local school board for an infrastructure project, is as follows: Continue reading “Guest Editorial: City of Bay St Louis Infrastructure Improvements Must be Legally Funded”

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire……..

Last night we had a public meeting double header here in the Bay so to make sure the local Alliance for Good Government had people at both we drew straws – Ron and I got the short ones and ended up at the Bay St Louis City Council meeting, which was a real snoozer since the finance department is on extended break. Council Prez Compretta ended up pushing the claims docket to the bottom of the agenda and I feel certain in saying sight unseen the stooges council approved it blind because Hizzoner said it was OK. Then the meeting adjourned so Hizzoner and stooges council could go the end of the Washington Street Boat Launch and dance naked in the pale moonlight.  Like I said, Ron and I drew the short straw.  I have the first 75 minutes or so on vid for posterity sake. Posting it for viewing could be construed as an act of wanton sadism so the editorial board here at Slabbed is hashing that part out as I write this.

Meantime over at the Bay Waveland School Board meeting the public was treated to quite a show. To set things up over the past several months the Alliance has been looking at the budgetary practices of the BWSD because the school district was amending its budget virtually monthly in a long standing practice and one that is absolutely unusual for a Mississippi K-12.  To go with that unusual practice is the fact there was absolutely no financial detail spread upon the Board’s minutes and after speaking with certain of the Board members the Alliance determined the School Board was not furnished any financial detail on any of these budgetary amendments.  Rumor holds that after each meeting in the six months ended December 31, 2014 after voting blind on these budgetary amendments Superintendent Ladner and the stooges School Board would head on down to the end of the Washington Street Boat Launch and dance naked in the pale moonlight but Slabbed has been unable to confirm this rumor.

In any event early this year certain members of the school board inquired as to what they  have been voting on in terms of those budget amendments.  Sources with first hand knowledge of the internal discussions have leaked to Slabbed New Media the documents and information they received, literally after months of inquiry and I have embedded this information below the jump. Continue reading “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire……..”

Bay Waveland School Superintendent Rebecca Ladner gets continued criticism for poor results and politicizing the local schools

LANA NOONAN and AMES KERGOSIEN: Don’t politicize Mississippi’s education funding ~ Sun Herald Letters to the Editor

What are we getting for the money we’re already giving the local school district?

In 2012-13, 37 percent of third-graders in the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District could not read at grade level. That number grew to 42 percent in 2013-14. Knowing these dismal numbers, what did our superintendent and school board do with our local tax dollars? Did they hire a reading coach to help these at-risk students?

No.

For the past 18 months, $481,336.57 of our local taxes were used for classroom supplies, as compared with $1.5 million (and counting) for a football field and $2.26 million for a parking lot.

Its a simple question of priorities folks.

Continued criticism of Bay-Waveland School Sup’s Partisan Political Activity

Bay-Waveland School Board member criticizes ‘politics’ ~ Geoff Belcher

My own opinion is Board Prez Sherry Ponder has lots to learn about both the Hatch Act and the First Amendment but that is another post. Board Member Maurice Singleton works at the Seacoast Echo, Board Prez Ponder is married to the publisher by way of background.

Here are Board member Mike Bell’s full comments:

As most of you may know, our Superintendent was recently involved in the rebuttal to the Governor’s State of the State address.

I am personally upset with our Superintendents involvement in this political partisan production. Instead of the usual live rebuttal on the house floor, they employed a video production unlike any I have ever seen.

Instead of her remarks focusing on educational issues like we were led to believe they would, and which we the Board of Trustees approved, the comments ran the political spectrum of states issues, government accountability, corruption, unemployment, medical care, hospitals, crumbling infrastructure, gas prices, nuclear waste, the department of transportation and women in the workforce. Continue reading “Continued criticism of Bay-Waveland School Sup’s Partisan Political Activity”