by Hunter Dawkins

Last Tuesday at the Long Beach School District’s Central Office, Thomas Carpenter was sworn in as the new school board member.  Carpenter is a Long Beach resident appointed to this position by the City of Long Beach Board of Aldermen in January to replace long-time school board member Angie Johnson.  Johnson’s term expired in early March.

Carpenter is a defense attorney for the law firm Carr Allison in Gulfport.  Additionally, he served as president of the Harrison County Bar Association and in October of 2009, Carpenter became a Fellow of the American Bar Association, an organization limited to one-third of one percent of practicing lawyers in Mississippi.  

Following this regulation, the Long Beach School Board voted 4-1 on the Consent Agenda with Member Debra Cook voting against an item in the claims docket.  Cook indicated having a problem with a payment method in this measure.

After the deliberation, the School Board voted unanimously to approve the next thirteen motions with discussion only from Long Beach School District Superintendent Dr. Jay Smith.

Initially, Dr. Smith spoke of the need to fill two teaching slots that have already been put into the budget.  According to Dr. Smith, the Long Beach School District has seen “an explosion of special need kids,” although most were from “out of town.”

Smith went on to explain of his meeting with the architect of the high school, the school district’s first week of advertisement in April, the acceptance of bids at the same time, and to begin construction in June.  The Long Beach School District Architect; Machado & Jones, gave the message to Dr. Smith that Phase 1 would be completed in 1 calendar year.  Phase 2 would finish the following year, according to Dr. Smith in this dialogue.

Finally, Dr. Smith expressed of a few “roadblocks” in the location of the tennis courts, due to running into mitigation through wetlands.  He stated that his intent was to bring this issue back to the school board in May.

The election of officers was the last procedure that occurred, which the board unanimously approved the same structure with Tim Pierce being renewed as School Board President and Sandi Sawyer Delaney following as Vice President of the Long Beach School Board.

School Board Attorney Jim Simpson was absent due to an illness.