School board changes travel policy to comply with law

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 16, 2001

NATCHEZ – To prevent violation of open meeting laws, the Natchez-Adams School Board voted last week to change some wording on its much discussed travel policy.

During last month’s meeting, the board voted to modify the travel policy in relation to emergency travel by the superintendent. Under this modification, the superintendent could only take emergency travel without the approval of the school board if it met certain stipulations.

The school board members decided the school board president and two other board members must issue approval outside of a regular meeting if Dr. Carl Davis is to make the trip.

Email newsletter signup

But school board attorney Bruce Kuehnle who was unable to attend last month’s meeting said Thursday that he used the word, consultation, instead of approval in his original travel document for a specific reason.

&uot;I didn’t say a vote be taken because I think that would be a problem of violating the open meetings laws,&uot; Kuehnle said.

The school board can only approve actions through its minutes at meetings, he said.

To abide by this law, Kuehnle wrote the policy to say the superintendent’s emergency travel can be approved by the president of the board in consultation with the other board members.

Kuehnle said he expected the school president to have an obligation to at least try to reach all four other board members when discussing emergency trips.

After approving this change, the board members also agreed not to allow any emergency travel for any district employee who wants to make a trip outside the state of Mississippi.

The school board also heard three requests Thursday from different groups wanting to make use of district facilities.

George Hogan requested the use of the gym at Washington School for the Natchez Boxing Club.

The program has been in existence since 1974 and Hogan said it makes a difference for &uot;misfits&uot; who are unable to play football, basketball or baseball.

&uot;I’ve had dozens of these boys write me back after (they’ve) grown and thank me for the opportunity that I gave them to get in the ring and work out their meanness,&uot; Hogan said.

Dorothy Houze requested use of Natchez High School to host her dance school’s recital on May 11 and 12 and Dr. Lamar Braxton of AJFC Community Action Agency requested the use of a school in 2003 for a program called Work Group Foundation.

About 400 young people want to come to Natchez to repair houses for elderly and low-income families. They need a place to stay with cafeteria and shower facilities during that time, Braxton said.

School Board President Kenneth Taylor said the board would take all three requests under advisement.

The board also accepted a bid for $263,000 from Edgin Construction to install handicapped accessibility chair lifts two at Braden School, one at McLaurin Elementary School and two at Robert Lewis Middle School.