By CARL SMITH
A school board election will be held noon to 5 p.m. March 2 to choose a candidate to represent the portion of Starkville School District which lies outside city limits but within the school system’s borders.
The SSD Board of Trustees set the date and time of the election Tuesday at its first monthly meeting and also scheduled a deadline for qualifying — 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 18. Petitions must be filed with the SSD superintendent’s office.
SSD Board of Trustees President Keith Coble currently holds the seat up for election and said he intends to qualify for re-election. Coble’s seat is the only elected school board position; the four remaining seats are appointed by the city.
In other action, the school board unanimously removed Career Technology Exploration (CTE) graduation requirements for ninth graders at Millsaps Career and Technology center and also adjusted the amount of credits required for graduation to reflect the change. The change will not affect students until the next school year.
The CTE class began at Millsaps to allow exposure and training to different career options and help lower the district’s dropout rate.
“Unfortunately, data shows that the desired results have not been met,” Millsaps Interim Director Ray New said in a letter to the school board. “Despite the students having this opportunity to explore career options, the number of students who have completed two years of a career program at Millsaps has declined. Program completion is a major goal in CTE.”
In that same letter, New asked the board to allow Millsaps’ two first-year classes to feed students into one second-year class.
“It is my opinion that with aggressive recruitment and viable instruction, the enrollment in the skills programs at Millsaps will increase leading to an increase in the number of completers in each program,” New said in the letter.
Last year, the school board approved moving CTE requirements from 10th grade to ninth grade, allowing students three years to complete two years of a skills class of their choice.
In a 2011 letter to the school district, then-Millsaps Director James Stidham said the former CTE schedule affected second-year class numbers.
The school board’s meeting yesterday marked the first such gathering under its new meeting schedule. Trustees adjusted the board’s schedule to avoid conflict with Starkville Board of Aldermen meetings. Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and Ward 7 Aldermen Henry Vaughn attended Tuesday’s meeting.
“I want to show full support, gratitude and appreciation to the school district for changing its regularly scheduled meeting time when it conflicted with the board of aldermen meetings,” Perkins said. “We really appreciate the school district, and the move shows great cooperation between the school board and the city. We’re all about trying to satisfy taxpayers’ interests.”