Wilkerson appointed to fill school board seat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

VIDALIA &045; The Ridgecrest man appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mike Grantham on the Concordia Parish School Board is apparently a man of few words.

Perhaps that’s just a well, because Jimmy Wilkerson, who quietly took a seat at the board table and will be sworn in as a board member at or before the board’s next meeting, cannot vote until he is sworn in.

One thing’s for sure, said board member Martha Rabb &045; &uot;he’s a resident of District 4, no question about that.&uot;

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But first, the board’s other members voted to accept the resignation of former board President Mike Grantham.

Last week, Grantham turned in his letter of resignation after a district attorney’s investigation concluded that he now resides in District 3 &045; not District 4, in which he was elected.

Under state law, when a board member moves from the district in which he was elected, the board must declare the seat vacant and appoint a member to fill the position until an election can be held.

The board also voted 5-3 to appoint Ernest Lynn White as its president.

Later in the meeting, the board approved an amended budget for fiscal 2002-2003 following a report by Director of Business Affairs Tom O’Neal.

First, the bad news: because the district lost 43 students during the fiscal year, it lost $140,000 in state funds, &uot;so there will be no state funding for teacher pay raises during this fiscal period,&uot; O’Neal said.

The good news: the district was able to complete a battery of capital improvements at schools throughout the district, including:

4Construction of a new band and classroom facility, electrical upgrades at Vidalia Junior High.

4New roofs at Ferriday Lower Elementary, Monterey School, the Ferriday High and Junior High annexes and one administrative facility.

4Installation of ceiling tiles and lights at Vidalia Upper Elementary, Ferriday Lower Elementary and the Monterey gym.

4Refinishing of parking lots at Vidalia Lower Elementary, Vidalia High, Ferriday Upper Elementary, Ferriday Junior High, Ferriday Lower Elementary and its track, Ridgecrest Elementary and Monterey School.

Other improvements throughout the district ranged from new band instruments, folding chairs and window blinds to more concrete for play areas and sidewalks.

In addition, debt from the construction of 24 new classrooms will be retired during the fiscal year that ends June 30. The accelerated payments &uot;will save our system and the taxpayers about $65,000,&uot; O’Neal said.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, parent Cyndie Dillon asked board members why school summer was not publicized sooner to give more parents the opportunity to sign up their children.

The district recently said it will not hold summer school this year due to lack of participation. &uot;We feel with proper notification, you would have had more than enough,&uot; Dillon said.

Vidalia Junior High Principal Fred Marsalis said summer school announcements were made over that school’s intercom twice a day in the days before school let out.

No action was taken by the board regarding summer school.