School board eyes yet another possible SES site

By Jeff Whitten

The McNairy County Board of Education failed to vote on the Falcon Road site at a special called meeting last Monday.

Instead, board member Tony Chapman will gather information on another site recently placed in contention. The prospective site is on Jones Road behind Wal-Mart.

Chapman will research whether the site is in the Selmer city limits, whether it has water, sewer, gas and electricity service and whether these services would need to be upgraded to accommodate a school.

“I’d like to take a look at this property,” he said.

Chapman told the Independent Appeal last Friday that he believes that the school board will select a site, though there is no perfect site. Each site has its advantages and disadvantages, he said.

The meeting had been called in order to give Chairman Larry Smith time to gather more information on the sites.

He told the board that the owners of the Highway 45/64 site would increase the acreage devoted to the school plot to 20 acres and an additional 1.5 acres for a park.

In addition to the cost of building on this site, some board members have expressed dissatisfaction that a shopping center is planned to be built on the property.

“I’d like to see the school sitting out by itself,” said board member Jarrell Stanfield.

Project architect Jev Vaughn said that it’s all speculative what will be on the property besides the school.

At the regular meeting last Thursday board rejected a motion to choose the Highway 45/64 site. The vote was 4-3 with Jean Jones, Larry Baker, Frank Lacey and Jarrell Stanfield voting no and Kevin Isbell, Tony Chapman and Larry voting yes.

One drawback of the Falcon Road site is the traffic on Highway 64, including industrial park workers who get off work about the time that school is out.

Though Chapman said he was not against the Falcon Road site, he said he was very concerned about the traffic. Other board members have expressed concern about the school being located in the vicinity of the county jail.

Chapman also expressed frustration over the board’s failure to choose a site for the school.

“I am so tired of us coming in here meeting after meeting and not making any decisions.

In other news from last Thursday’s regular meeting:

*The board hired Williams, Jerrolds, Godwin and Nichols to conduct the audit of the activity and cafeteria fund at a cost of $19,000. According to school board chairman Larry Smith, this is the same firm the board has used over the past few years the agreement with the Savannah accounting firm is a standard contract.

*They approved the purchase of a maintenance van for the School Nutrition Department at a cost of $18,710.

*Assistant Director of Schools Dr. Brian Jackson spoke on the Adequate Yearly Progress in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program under the No Child Left Behind law. He said that McNairy County has become targeted in reading for black students in the intermediate grades. Michie Elementary School and Selmer Elementary School are targeted for reading scores for economically disadvantaged students in the intermediate grades. However, Selmer Middle School is off the targeted list for black students in mathematics. If any subgroup in any school in any subject is targeted, the entire county is targeted. Jackson said that like last year, the achievement bar has been raised again this year. He told the board that Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman have asked the federal government for a waiver from NCLB. They seek to use the state’s Race to the Top standards instead. Jackson said that McNairy students demonstrated growth in 20 of 22 areas.