LIBERTY — After deadlocking on the issue in a 2-2 vote last month, Amite County School district trustees split 3-2 Thursday night to use a temp agency to fill its janitorial staff.
Trustees Jimmy Burns, Burns, Dianne Cook and James Copeland voted in favor, while Monica Johnson and Albert White Sr. opposed.
Financial director Lindsey Latham proposed last month that the district use TempStaff to help filling janitorial positions, citing high turnover.
Latham said the move makes sense from a financial standpoint, noting that the employees would be on Temp Staff’s payroll for 525 hours, or 31/2 months.
During that time, the district would have to pay 30 percent above the hourly rate to TempStaff, which would go to worker’s compensation insurance, state and federal taxes and other payroll deductions.
An $8-an-hour employee would cost the district $10.40, she said.
"If we hired them on initially with $8 an hour ... with total salary and fringe benefits, the rate of a person making $8 a hour is actually $13.70,” Latham said.
"Right now we're hiring people and they're quitting before we get the paperwork done on them," trustee Jimmy Burns said.
Officials noted that janitorial services is still short five people despite the hiring of two employees Thursday.
In another matter, district technology director Reginald Matthews gave an update on federal ERATE grant funding, which pays for broadband connectivity and other technology services.
He noted that CSpire recently won a state contract to provide those services, but AT&T has filed litigation to block the contract, tying up the funds.
Other funding is still available from the state, but Matthews suggested that the board advertise for bids for a variety of connectivity services to see if the district can get a lower price.
He noted that the district has $99,000 in ERATE money for the elementary school, $64,000 for the high school and $9,582 for the vo-tech. If it uses those funds, the district would be responsible for chipping in $14,904 for the elementary shool, $9,608 for the high school and $1,426 for the vo-tech, Matthews said.
Use of those funds is not indefinite, he said.
"This money is going way, y'all. If we don't get it now, they're going to change the rules next year," Matthews said.
In another matter, Matthew said the school system filed a joint application for a distance learning grant with Lauderdale, East Jasper, Marion and Walthall County school districts and received $478,346.
He said the funds would help establish a connection in the alternative school to students’ regular classrooms, which would prevent them from falling behind.
And Matthews noted that through the use of Google hangouts and Google Classroom applications being used district wide, all students will receive Google email accounts. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade would not be able to send or receive emails, and students in grades 7 through 12 can only send and receive to other emails in the school district's system.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted he resignation of Mary McKinney Rester.
• Hired high school teacher Krishena Weathersby and part-time janitorial employees Deidre Thomas and Maxine Taplin.
• Updated a teaching contract for Julieana Dykes Allen, reflecting a change in her teaching certification
• Approved the disposal of old equipment.
• Approved 16th Section leaseholder Harold Baker's request to place a mobile home on leased land.
• Approved a student transfer into the district.
• Agreed to advertise for egress windows for the high school.
• At the request of trustee James Copeland, met in executive session to discuss potential litigation.