Parents challenged to make a difference in schools

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 21, 2008

NATCHEZ — It’s not about what the superintendent does, what the teachers do or what the school board does. It’s about what you do.

That was the message community member Arella Bacon preached at the Natchez-Adams School Board meeting Tuesday, bringing some in the room to joyful tears.

“If each of us would just stop fighting each other and ask God ‘What can I do for the public schools,’ we wouldn’t have problems,” Bacon said.

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Bacon challenged those in the community who are concerned with the school board and superintendent’s work to visit the schools, starting with West Primary.

“Just come there and you will see where the problem is,” she said. “The first thing you’ve got to find out is the problem, and the No. 1 problem we’ve got today in our schools is parents.”

Bacon challenged those who are concerned with the public schools’ performance to do something she’s done before and go door-to-door meeting with parents and offering to help them with their children.

“Truly today our school system can be better if we start with our babies,” she said.

“Everyone wants to blame everyone else, but it’s all of our problem. There is a way out. We must work as group — black and white, purple and green.”

Bacon said it was time to stop being negative about the school’s leadership. In recent weeks a new group — the Committee for Better Public Schools — came out and asked that Superintendent Anthony Morris be fired.

“We need to stop firing people and come together,” Bacon said. “Every year we have it coming up and we want to fire people. It upsets the children.”

Board Chairman Norris Edney thanked Bacon for her support and said he agreed with her opinions.

In other business:

4 The board heard from independent auditor Deanne Tanksley of Smith, Turner & Reeves on their annual audit report.

“It’s a perfectly clean audit opinion,” Tanksley said. “It’s the best opinion we can give. I couldn’t even find anything to recommend that they could do better.”

4 Bruce Video approached the board about recording board meetings at the rate of $100 an hour for broadcast on local TV Channel 4. The board agreed to consider the request.

4 Operations Director Wayne Barnett asked for permission to advertise for bids on four projects he hopes to complete over the summer.

The projects included a new gym floor at Morgantown Elementary School, more parking spots at Frazier and West primary schools and an upgraded camera system throughout the district.

4 The board agreed to re-advertise for bids on a section of hunting and fishing land they own on Giles Island. The board sought bids for $50 an acre or more previously, but did not received any bids.

The district has not earned any money on the land since Aug. 31 of last year. Barnett asked them to consider accepting a lower bid, but board member Kenneth Taylor said he thought the state auditor required a $50 bid.

The board agreed to re-advertise at $50 and seek and opinion from the auditor.