LMSD board approves budget

Patsy Freeman
Winston County Journal
662.773.6241 ext. 26

By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
The Louisville Municipal School Board approved the district’s budget of $26,330,973 in expenses with projected revenues of $24,922,264. This planned budget uses $1,408,708 of the funds on reserve with the district.
“Main thing about the budget is that we feel like we can make this budget without any increases in taxes,” said Board president Bobby Moody.
Superintended William Wade agreed and noted that the Winston County Tax Assessor was examining the millage numbers now and it was looking okay.
Sixteen Section leases
The board discussed four Sixteen Section leases which caused questions among board members.  
Hal Overstreet, LMSD Sixteen Section lease coordinator, noted that all hunting and agricultural leases even those changed from farm residential are required to go out for bid according to the Secretary of State or the Secretary of State’s office would not approve the leases. 
In a previous meeting last year, attorneys from the Secretary of State noted that they would allow the district to work with farm residential leaseholders to change leases to hunting or agriculture leases and have first option on those leases.
The new information from the Secretary of State’s office ended the first bid option of the leaseholder. The current leaseholder would still have the right to match the highest bid. 
“We, the local board have the authority,” said Moody as he outlined that he felt the law did not give the Secretary of State the right to dictate terms to the local board.
Moody noted that he thought the board should proceed as they did on the other leases and give those leasing the land first bid rights at the minimum bid requirements and not worry with the secretary of state’s approval of the leases.
The board requested their attorney find out what the ramifications would be if they approved the four leases without bidding them out and could not get the Secretary of State’s approval. 
Claire Crowell expressed her concerns that the Secretary of State could pursue litigation against the board members if he felt that failing to bid out the leases was not the best serving to the district.
Moody also questioned the prices of the church and cemetery leases but Overstreet noted that all but one church had renewed the leases even with the increase.
Sixteen Section earnings help the district purchase buses, repair buildings and address other maintenance needs.
The board also approved in Sixteen Section items:
• Bids on property on Ellison Ridge for hunting lease at $6.50 an acre.
• Pay for site prep for Liberty Sixteen Section land where site spraying will cost $64.95 per acre.
• Approved  Center Ridge tree spraying.
In other business, the board:
• Requested the board attorney send a letter to the Department of Justice on the district’s plans to move 7th and 8th grade from Eiland Middle school campus and changes in the way students are assigned classrooms in elementary. She noted that the DOJ had given a verbal approval and her firm would corresponding with the DOJ for a written approval.
• Insurance Renewal for the district property and are facing about a 25 percent increase in premiums. Steve Roberts of Renasant Insurance noted that the limited market of those selling insurance to school districts and claims this year ion the policy drove up the premiums.
. Approved the claims docket with discussions on the 21st Century grant that the district received and the cost of the state associations on the district.
• approved April bank balances and May financials.
• Noted that starting July 1 that the state required every district use direct deposit and no more paper checks for employees.
• Approved a $20,000 payment to purchased property beside Fair Elementary for future use by the district.
• Discussed the secondary and elementary handbooks with a new dress code policy inside which added grey to the shirt colors and made other changes. Board member Betty Byrd questioned could the policy change in the handbooks without changing the overall policy. Dr. Wade noted he would check the policy and may need the board in the next meeting to change the policy.
• Discussed a uniform exchange program.
• Held an executive session on personnel
• Set the next meeting for July 17 at 5:30 p.m.