by Hannah Allen

On Tuesday, July 9th, the Pass Christian School Board held their final meeting before the start of 2019-2020 school year on August 7th.

During their session, board members discussed changes that will be occurring during the upcoming school year, including changes in staff, dental and eye-care insurance for teachers, and school walkway designs.

Superintendent Dr. Carla J. Evers began the meeting by announcing the approval of Dr. Beth Bellipanni as the interim principal of Pass Christian Middle School. Prior to this announcement, Dr. Bellipanni served as the vice-principal of Pass Middle under Dr. Joe Nelson.

Evers announced that “Dr. Bellipanni is excited and eager to get [the school year] started.”

Evers also congratulated Dr. Nelson, who has since been promoted to the superintendent position of the Clarksdale Municipal School district in north Mississippi.

The board will be continuing its search for a vice-principal for the Pass Christian Middle School.

Following the announcement of Dr. Bellipanni’s promotion, the board addressed the teachers’ dental and eye-care insurance. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, teachers and other staff members will have a better variety of options for their insurance providers. Prior to this change, teachers had to choose between two similarly priced insurance policies, known as a dual option plan. A new third option has been provided for teachers in order to allow a diversity of policies.

A business and finance representative explained, “What we were tasked with was to go out to the market and find something that was more of a variance…from a price perspective and a benefits perspective.”

Because the teacher’s insurance is paid out-of-pocket, it must be both affordable and appropriate for their needs. Now, with a third option of insurance, Pass Christian school district employees are better equipped to evaluate and address their dental and eye care demands.

In addition to meeting the needs of their teachers, board members are also working to better the environment for Pass students. At the meeting, members approved a plan to begin building a sidewalk area on North Street to create a safer environment for students who walk to and from the high school.

President of the school board, Margaret Jean Kalif, emphasized that the walkway would be built using federal funds that have “funneled down through the state…with no cost to the school district.”

Craig High; an engineer with the project, is excited to work with the school on the project and hopes to “create a…multi-use pathway…that will lead the kids up to the school way.” High would like to have plans for the walkway approved by January of 2020.