NECA to relocate to Alcorn State’s Natchez campus

Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a two-year agreement to move its Natchez Early College Academy program to the Alcorn State University Natchez campus Tuesday.

Interim Superintendent Fred Butcher said the measure was a show of solidarity to the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Directors, which has decided to delay the moving of NECA until a new superintendent has been named by the school district.

“We want them to know we are serious about moving NECA,” Butcher said. “We want the board to understand, no matter who the superintendent is, we want NECA to be moved.

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“We are trying to put this train back on the tracks.”

The school board terminated former superintendent Frederick Hill’s contract in April, with board member Phillip West citing legal troubles after Hill and the district lost a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former district principal.

The district’s goal had been to move NECA to ASU this upcoming school year, which would have given upcoming freshmen the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.

The plan to move the academy from the Natchez High School campus to ASU involves a memorandum of understand between Alcorn, CLCC and NASD. The Alcorn board of directors has approved the MOU, but Co-Lin’s board has not, Butcher said.

Officials with the community college said the new superintendent ought to make the decision to move the school.

Moving to the Alcorn campus will incur an expense. To rent a hall of the campus it will cost approximately $62,000 per year.

The district will be charged a fee of $100 per three-hour course or $35 for a one-hour course for freshmen and sophomores.

For juniors and seniors, the district will be charged $119.50 per hour until they become full time students taking at least 12 hours, and then the charge will be $1,195. All other student fees would be waived, but CLCC would bill the district the cost of the textbooks at regular price.

Though Butcher said the move would create an escalated cost per student rate, the board still approved the plan because it would help the district’s students and parents.

“I think anytime you can help a parent by having their kids already get some college credits, it’s something we should do,” board president Amos James said. “I know I don’t need to tell anyone college is getting real expensive.”

Butcher said it also helps the children develop confidence by getting an early experience of college life before they officially leave home.

“When kids leave college for the first time, they are scared,” he said. “This way, they are already in a college setting and can adopt a new kind of lifestyle to help propel themselves in the future.”

Butcher said he wanted former Co-Lin board member and current NASD Board of Trustees secretary Thelma Newsome to appear at the meeting at 4:30 p.m. today in Wesson at the Henley building.

CLCC President Dr. Ronald “Ronnie” Nettles said the MOU is not on the board of trustee’s agenda, so a board member would have to make a motion to talk about it at today’s meeting.

Nettles said he has not had a chance to talk with the board about this matter and declined to comment further.