Alcorn School Board member Mary Coleman has responded to questions from Corinth Today regarding her candidacy for re-election to the Fourth District seat. She is running against Carroll Mason. The election is Nov. 6.
Below are Coleman’s responses:
What are the biggest issues facing the Alcorn School District?
The biggest issue that we face is financial which comes as a result of the state not fully funding education.
Other issues include:
●Our absentee rate is about 5% per day.
●Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 18 or more days per year. Students who fall into that category get behind and ultimately drop out.
●This affects not only our ADA, but also affects our graduation rate, which is a major component of accreditation.
We have done major remodeling and made great improvements across our district. Some of which are:
●Remodeled 22 bathrooms
●Replaced 50 plus classroom air conditioners
●Installed LED lighting in all gyms and several classrooms
●Air-conditioned high school gyms
●With the securing of a FEMA grant along with district funds, plans are in place to build a storm shelter on the Biggersville campus, which will accommodate all students and faculty as well as serve as a multipurpose building.
Other additions include:
●Six new classrooms at KHS
●Four new classrooms at ACHS
●Ag building at ACHS
●Remodeled BHS and ACHS Band Halls
●Repairs are being made on BHS Auditorium
●Structural damage repaired at KES Auditorium
Even with all the additions and improvements we still have a way to go to make our campuses safer, more attractive and more usable for our teachers and students.
UPGRADING BUS FLEET
●In the last three years, we have replaced 19 buses. Prior to that the average age of our buses was 15 years. They were not dependable, nor were they safe for our students. The new buses are all equipped with cameras. Plans are to continue to replace old buses as money becomes available.
●We have made great progress in technology, and we will continue to make sure our students have opportunities to become more advanced in this area.
●We have touch screens in the Pre-K through second grade classrooms which allow students to respond by touching appropriate answers.
SAFE AND SECURE CAMPUSES
●This is a very serious issue because our campuses are difficult to secure. We have added cameras and security doors at most locations. We have applied for a Safety Grant that could potentially allow us more safety upgrades and school resource officers at all campuses.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS
●We have excellent teachers as evidenced by our state test scores, but we must provide opportunities for them to continue to grow and learn new skills and techniques.
All of these issues are critical, and we will continue to address each one because we want this District to be able to meet the needs of our students and faculties.
What will you look for in a new superintendent?
The ACSB, for the first time ever, will have the awesome responsibility of appointing a superintendent. There are certain criteria set forth by the state that each applicant must meet. The MS CODE dictates that an applicant must hold a valid administrator’s license, have classroom experience or administrative experience not less than 6 years, which would include at least 3 years of administrative experience as a school building principal in a school with an “A” or “B” accountability rating or in a school that increased its accountability rating by a letter grade during the period in which the applicant was employed as principal.
We will look for someone with proven communication skills, good work ethic, and strong leadership skills. We will also consider the size and success of the previous district of the applicant.
Why do you think you are qualified to serve on the school board?
I believe my 35 years in the classroom gives me great insight into teacher/student issues. I have been on the board 12 years, and I feel that the institutional knowledge I have gained during that time qualifies me to continue that service.