South Pike board members argued again at their June meeting over the hiring of consultants.

The board had already squabbled over consulting services at two meetings in May, and a newly presented contract brought out contention again.

The contract involved, with Bailey Education Group, is for $60,900, and includes a day of staff development and 20 days of on-site observation and demonstration for English and math teachers at South Pike High School.  

Board President Clara Conerly and member Eva Andrews favored postponing consideration of the contract to the  July meeting, so a representative of the firm could give a presentation on their services.

“It’s not our job to designate who (school officials) should get services from,” member Dr. Luke Lampton said. “They know what they need. It’s our job to give it to them.”

Andrews begged to differ.

“We are obligated as members of this board to ask questions,” she said.

Conerly noted that a school district’s highest leaders are removed when schools fail.

The state “removes the school board first,” she said. “They say we can’t make good educational decisions.”

Andrews and Lampton raised their voices as they continued to argue, with Andrews telling Lampton not to shout at her and each of them telling the other they should “stay in your lane.”

Once the heated discussion wound down, the board voted unanimously to table the Bailey contract.

The board unanimously approved a contract with Inspired Consulting, costing $17,000. Superintendent Donna Scott said the services would be a continuation of services from a prior contract that offered support and mentoring for Eva Gordon principals Dr. Geneva Holmes and Kim Daniels.

With the Eva Gordon campus being merged into one school again and Daniels transferring to alternative school, those services would apply solely to Holmes this year.

The board also accepted a contract with Kids First Education Program for summer school lesson plans and teaching techniques. That was on a 4-1 vote, with Andrews dissenting.

In other business, the board:

• Approved summer school programs, student handbooks, the district organizational chart, school safety plans, library handbooks and activity handbooks.

• Approved open purchase orders for the next fiscal year.

• Approved advertising for bids for 16th Section land leases.

• Approved the disrict’s salary scales.

• Postponed authorizing a grant application.

• Accepted a $35.51 donation to Eva Gordon Upper Elementary School and $3,846 to the school’s Beta Club.

• Approved a slate of rehires, retirements, resignations and recommendations for the next school year.

• Released five students from South Pike to McComb, North Pike and Franklin County because a parent is employed by the other district; and two students to Lincoln County under special circumstances.

• Accepted four students from Amite County under special circumstances.

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