New Pass Christian School Board Member Avra O’Dwyer took the oath of office this week, and the board learned the online Niche Award for the top high school in the state of Mississippi was awarded to Pass Christian High School, but the majority of the meeting was discussion about the travel budget for the school board members and their salaries.

“According to my understanding from the School Board Attorney, we have been in violation of the State Law Statute 37-6-13,” said Pass Christian School Board President Margaret Jean Kalif when speaking about the school board’s compensation for training.

Kalif indicated that the breach of state law had nothing to do with the school board policy, rather it was the need to address the mandatory training reimbursement fol-lowed by the budget for each member to attend regional or national training.

School Board Attorney Mark Alexander conveyed to the board that there should be an address for each training, which is not mandatory to receive reimbursement.

Walter “Skip” King said he didn’t know about the State Law Statute and its creation in 2015, as a School Board Member. “We have not been aware of this and did not take effect until 2015,” said King, asking Kalif about the statute.

Board member Scott Naugle suggested that this placed no restrictions on travel and “it is completely separate for what is to be placed in the budget and this involves transparency for the budget.”

Pass Christian School Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers answered the budget commentary, saying “right now we have $10,000 for the board members travel budget total” and “last year the board spent half that.”

Deliberation occurred when School Board Member Cecil J. Lizana began to ask about the school budget and whether compensation should be provided for every training. “We are not going to attend every single meeting,” said Lizana commenting that the board “should fix that,” referring to the approval by the school board for travel compensation for each non-mandatory training.

After Lizana’s commentary, Kalif called for a motion to set the travel budget for the board at $5,500 total and unanimously passed.
Three action items and four consent items on the agenda passed unanimously, including the insurance quote provided by Justin Ladner, an employee of Stewart, Sneed, and Hewes who has acted as the insurance advisor to the School District. Naugle recused himself from this vote due to business cor-relations.

Conclusively, Dr. Evers addressed the status of the priority projects in order, revealing that the high school entry was completed and the only current problem was with the high school baseball field switching subcontractors. Following this discussion, Dr. Evers presented the High School Principal Dr. Robyn Killebrew with the Niche Award for the top high school in the state.