District receives $475K from pre-K tax credit


With the first half of the school year behind them, the Petal School District Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday to map out the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.

Additionally, the board discussed an early learning collaborative state tax credit.

For 2017, the Petal School District received approximately $475,000 through the pre-K tax credit according to Coleman Center for Families and Children (CFFC) director Dede Smith.

Smith explained that the funds will help the CFCC allocate much needed resources and afford the center’s operational costs.

Additionally, she said that a significant portion of the funds will continue to go toward the Dolly Parton Imagination Library- a program that provides free high-quality books for children from the time they are born until they are five-years-old.

“There is a lot of research that shows the importance and value of a quality early childhood education experience many years after the children grow into adults,” Smith said.

“Investing in our youngest children helps to ensure that Petal will be as great as it has always been for many years to come.”

The meeting began with the recognition of Petal High School art teacher Anna Bess Simmons, Petal Upper Elementary art teacher Brooke Bowden, PHS student Madi Lee and PUES student Paige Rehm for their unique, stand-out pottery and creative artwork that they recently were able to give as Christmas gifts in the district.

Additionally, Lee gifted superintendent Matt Dillon with an elaborate ‘string-art’ piece that will be on display at the district’s central office.

“There are a lot of great things going on in our district from the fine arts,” Dillon said. Dillon added that the time and dedication that went in to the art was something he hoped to highlight and showcase.

“We put a lot of emphasis on athletics, fine arts and academics in our district and this is a great example of just a small piece of what they do,” Dillon said. “We love to expose our students to things such as this, as it helps to make them more well-rounded in everything that they do. “

“It’s pretty special to see what these great teachers are doing in their field,” Dillon added.

Additionally, Teacher of the Year awards were presented to teachers from each school within the district, as well as a District Teacher of the Year award and an Administrator of the year award.

Teacher of the Year recipients were: Paige Perkins from Petal Primary school, Emily McAlpin from Petal Elementary School, Lori Johnson from Petal Upper Elementary School, Linda Drinkwine from Petal Middle School, and Bill Kirby from Petal High School.

Lori Johnson was named District Teacher of the Year, and Margaret Tynes was named Administrator of the Year.

Maintenance director Bill Lott also gave an update regarding buildings and grounds repairs, instillations and additions to the board.


In other action, the board:


•          Approved the minutes from the December 12, 2017 meeting;

•          Approved the claims docket from November;

•          Approved financial statements and bank reconciliation for November 30;

•          Approved the resignations of Rachel Canull, Kelsey Courtney, Martha Abadie, Lanny Beach, Jill Wedgeworth and Ben Gebauer;

•          Approved the retirements of Debbie Foster, Barbara Oberst, Bill Kirby and Donna Creel;

•          Approved change of status for Paige Perkins;

•          Approved recommendations of Hannah Brock, Amy Lister, Jason McLeod, Shannon McRanney, Taylor Townsend, Natasha Watson and Rena Walters;

•          Approved a donation of $3,675.50 from the PHS Soccer Booster Club to the PHS Varsity Girls Soccer Team for the purchase of soccer uniforms for the varsity girls team;

•          Approved a donation of $11,000 from PES PTO to PEC for the purchase 131 chromebooks and one charging cart;

•          Approved a donation of $3,188.19 from PES PTO to PES for the purchase of books for the PES Library;

•          Approved a student transfer to the Lamar County School District;

•          Approved out of state travel for the PHS Forensics Team to go to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL for the Alabama Hall of Fame Tournament Jan. 12-13;

•          Approved out of state travel for PHS business and marketing students to go to New Orleans, LA for a tour of the New Orleans Pelicans Organization March 9;

•          Approved out of state travel for PHS JROTC to go to New Orleans, LA, Bogalusa, LA, and Louisville, KY for Drill Meet and National Drill meet Jan. 27, March 24, and April 12-15.