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Lowndes Schools to Hold Some Meetings at Night — Board Changes Time for Three Meetings Per Year

BY BRIAN JONES
Staff Writer
brian.jones@test.columbuspacket.com/packet

After years of being voted down with little to no discussion, the Lowndes County School Board has taken a small step towards holding evening meetings.
Going forward, at least three meetings will be held on school campuses on Mondays at 5:30 p.m.  The remainder will continue to be held at 11:30 a.m. on the second Friday at the central office.
Last month Jacqueline Gray made a motion to change the meeting time to 5:30 p.m. to make it more accessible to the public.  She has made this motion on a regular basis for practically the entire time she’s been on the board, and nearly every time it failed for lack of a second.  Last month, however, Wesley Barrett seconded, but discussion was delayed after Jane Kilgore asked to table it until all of the board members could be present.  [Brian Clark was absent. – Brian Jones] Friday the motion was brought back up for debate.
“I’ve made this motion since 2003,” Gray said.  “I think parents, teachers, everybody needs the opportunity to come to these meetings.  This is the community’s meeting, not our meeting.”

Brian Jones / The Packet New Hope Baseball Coach Lee Boyd was honored Friday for his team's victory at the 5A state championship last spring.  The team had a 27-9 record.  Left to right,  President Bobby Barksdale, board members Wesley Barrett and Jane Kilgore, Coach Lee Boyd, Board  Attorney Jeff Smith and Superintendent Lynn Wright.

Brian Jones / The Packet
New Hope Baseball Coach Lee Boyd was honored Friday for his team’s victory at the 5A state championship last spring. The team had a 27-9 record. Left to right,
President Bobby Barksdale, board members Wesley Barrett and Jane Kilgore, Coach Lee Boyd, Board
Attorney Jeff Smith and Superintendent Lynn Wright.

Barrett suggested holding three meetings every year at school campuses.
“I haven’t been here since 2003,” he said.  “I don’t know why the meetings are set this way.  I would like to try to compromise and say for this year that we have at least three meetings – one on each campus – on a Monday night.  That way 25 percent of the meetings will be at night.  It seems like this vote has always gone one way, so let’s try to at least compromise.”
“I would rather have some of the meetings changed rather than none,” Gray said.
The motion passed unanimously.  Exactly which meetings will be held on Monday have yet to be determined.
[I think this is great news for LCSD constituents.  Last month I opined that Ms. Gray’s motion would die, as it always has.  I am delighted to be proven wrong.  While this is a small but important victory, I hope that Ms. Gray will not give up on her efforts to get all the meetings changed to Monday night.  For now I am glad to see any change at all, and I hope the public will show up in large numbers. – Brian Jones]

Joey Henderson from Johnson Bailey Henderson McNeel and Columbus Light and Water Director Todd Gale appeared to briefly discuss an agreement to handle sewer discharge at New Hope.
The New Hope Middle School campus is currently served by a lagoon.  The LCSD is trying to get out of the sewer business and, after exploring other options, is going to send its discharge to CLW.
West Lowndes Middle School operates under a similar agreement with the industrial park.
“The light and water board has actually approved the memorandum of understanding already,” Henderson said.
“We’re looking at a line from New Hope campus to the area of the county airport,” Gale said.  “That’s about a five-mile run, and you will need a pump station at the campus.  Construction would be about $765,000, that’s just an estimate based on our annual bid costs.  The MOU says that if both boards agree to do this we will retain an engineering firm to draw up the plans, get any permits that might be required and put it out for public bid.”
The district would build the line and deed it over to CLW.  CLW would maintain it going forward.
The board unanimously approved the MOU.

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