TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE: Evelle Thomas-Dillon was sworn into her seat on the McComb school board Tuesday despite the district's court action that argues she cannot serve because she lives outside the city limits.
School board attorney Kashonda Day administered the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting. Monique Gilmore held a Bible during the oath.
Thomas-Dillon then took a seat with other trustees, but she did not vote on any of the more than 30 issues the board decided. She said afterward that she did not participate because the application for her performance bond had not been completed.
Click on Title To Read Document
Asked about the school board's decision to challenge her appointment in court, Thomas-Dillon said, "All I want to do is help improve a D-rated school and not have the board micro-manage the schools, because that's what's going on now. And to hire a lawyer to fight an appointment — take that money and put it back into the school district."
The McComb School District has filed an emergency petition claiming Evelle Thomas-Dillon, appointed to the school board by McComb selectmen, cannot serve because she lives outside the city limits.
The petition (see the attached copy) cites Section 37-7-203 of the Mississippi code, claiming that the law only permits one municipal school board member from outside a city if less than 30% of a district's student body lives outside the city. The petition says only 16% of students live outside McComb.
The city board, which appointed Thomas-Dillon to the school board in April, is the defendant in the case. Selectmen appoint four of the five school trustees, while the fifth is elected by residents who live outside McComb. In 2020 Angela Bates was elected to the school board by residents of the "added territory" outside of the city.
The school district's petition, filed Monday in Pike County Chancery Court, asks a judge to prevent the city from violating state law in appointing Thomas-Dillon to the board, "or, in the alternative, reverse Dillon's appointment to the board as null and void, in violation of and contrary to state law.