/Coahoma school district salary increase boosts enthusiasm

Coahoma school district salary increase boosts enthusiasm

Nonprofit Mississippi News CLARKSDALE: After the resignation of the former superintendent in mid-semester, the new Coahoma Country School District leadership is taking control and making changes to ensure a positive school environment. This will not only satisfy the school board but also keep teachers and parents satisfied. Despite the legal battle by former leader Xandra Bows-Keys for her job back, the district met Tuesday with John “Mac” Curlee to take action on several fronts in order to keep schools moving forward. Patrick Campbell, president of the school board, was delighted by the rapid increase in productivity under the interim superintendent. This included the purchase of two new school buses from buses and buildings fund, the creation of an alternative school, and the addition of a touch of paint to the corridors of schools. The local supplement for certified staff will rise to $2500, from $1100 in the past, while classified staff – school employees who don’t require licensure or certification to be qualified for the job — will see a five percent increase. Principals will also get a five percent raise in their salaries for FY18. “Mr. Curlee stated that President Curlee did not know that the principals were the first to get up. “I believe they realize how important that’s going be to them as far recruiting the teachers, so I want to express my gratitude to the board for your action tonight.” Teachers across the country are leaving schools to protest pay. A survey in Oklahoma found that 80 percent of teachers leave because they are not paid enough. Mississippi has struggled to give teachers more money. According to the FY16 data from Mississippi Department of Education, starting teacher salaries in Mississippi are just over $39,000 for those with less than three years of experience. The average teacher salary is $41,000. The average starting teacher salary in New Jersey is $44,872. New York ranks first at $69,118. According to the National Education Association, New York’s average teacher salary is $69,118. Campbell said that being able to raise salaries in Coahoma county allows it to be more competitive with other districts and reduce the need for long-term substitutes. He said that it allows them to keep qualified staff and attract highly qualified people. Campbell spoke with Mississippi Today to say that they did not have additional funding for the local supplement, and that the funds were already in the budget. Mildrica Cannon, Friars Point Elementary teacher, said, “It feels great knowing that I, along with other hard workers, will be receiving an increase in salary.” “With all the requirements from the state and national education laws demanding so many from educators, the rise in pay will make it easier to work hard,” said Mildrica Cannon, Friars Point Elementary teacher of the year. Every seat was occupied, there were people waiting outside, as well as others waiting in the hallway. Campbell said that this was one of the first steps to keep the community informed about what’s happening. Dooney’s Barbershop owner Dave Houston said that he was unable to attend the meeting but that he enjoys the idea of the school boards meeting at their respective schools. “Parents always attend, especially Lyon (Elementary school). Houston said that they have received a lot support and should continue to hold meetings at the school. Houston said that they have a lot of support and should continue to hold meetings at the school. Curlee stressed the importance of effective communication between parents and school officials because it “defines” us. Curlee stated that communication is the key to who we are. Curlee stated, “Our communication defines who we are.” The meeting approved: *Housing the alternative school in the senior wing of the high school was approved *Installation of door entry systems were approved at all schools *Agreed with Mississippi State University student teachers to be part of a self-audit for accreditation standards and a district curriculum audit. Campbell said that it could have been done all along. “Didn’t you see the enthusiasm at the meeting? Teachers, parents, and everyone was happy for the alternative school. “…The district now has someone who has experience in education business, you understand?” Curlee has been impressed by the support of school officials and members of the Coahoma community. They’ve been extremely courteous. They have been professional. Their hospitality was unimaginable for someone who came in fresh like me, and so I’m so grateful for that,” he said. Houston stated that he did not know Curlee, but that he felt the district needed new leadership. Cannon, who is in her first year as a teacher, stated that she believes the district is on the right track. Curlee, although he was a conservator at the Tate County and Aberdeen schools, is not new to the Mississippi Delta. He was a Delta State University student, taught at the Clarksdale High School across from Oakhurst Intermediate Academy and lived in Marks during the 1960s, when his father was principal of the Marks Attendance Center. He said that Curlee’s contract expires on June 30, but Campbell plans to keep him at least one year. The district has set goals according to a handout. They aim to achieve a “C” accountability rating by 2019 and a B by 2020. Students must show growth and score proficient or higher on the state exam. *Providing secure and safe facilities. *Developing and maintaining effective and efficient use all resources in order to improve student achievement. Curlee was praised by the audience for his emphasis on the importance of requiring all students take the ACT beginning in ninth grade. Curlee stated, “If they are an athlete, in the band, or in choral, they’re gonna sing not the first note, or break from the initial huddle, nor we’re gonna take any step until we register for that ACT.” Curlee stated, “I’m trying to get to know the school district better than I did the day before. In doing so I’m trying to do the best I can to make the district more student-achievement-oriented and just getting more familiar.”