Students will get out Dec. 18 for Christmas holiday

Morehouse Parish students and teachers were rejoicing Wednesday after a school board decision Tuesday night to dismiss school on Dec. 18 instead of Dec. 20 for the Christmas holiday.

School Superintendent Dr. George Noflin asked the board during it's regular monthly meeting about using the remaining "bad weather" days of the semester as part of the Christmas break and a motion to do so carried unanimously.

As is protocol, an election was also held for Board Officers for the upcoming year. Jeff Churchwell (District 4) nominated Mike Stephens (District 5) for the position of president and Robert Fenceroy (District 7) nominated Louis Melton. As Stephens was the first nomination, the board took a roll call vote with Karen Diel (District 1), Ron Vollmar (District 3), Churchwell and Stephens voting for and Melton, Fenceroy and Tamika Ferrell (District 6) voting against. With vote vote of four to three, the motion carried. Melton then nominated Fenceroy as vice-president and Churchwell motioned to cease nominations. The motion carried, with Fenceroy named as vice-president.

First year teacher Kara Hawkins was named Employee of the Month. Hawkins teaches first grade at South Side Elementary. The highest attendance award for November went to Morehouse Magnet School in the faculty and staff division with attendance of 96.78 percent and to HV Adams for students with attendance of 95.36 percent.

Child Nutrition Directer Susan Spence also presented awards to those in her department who have completed nutrition management certification. Billy Pegross, Cleola Jackson, Kim Ward, Ruby Johnson, Shannon Armstrong and Ivory Harris were recognized for their completions in the certification process.

Dr. Noflin showed the board a plaque received in Washington, D.C. for the recognition of Morehouse Magnet School being named as a Blue Ribbon School. An event will be held at the Magnet School Dec. 13 for this honor.

All bus requests were approved and a resolution providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of $339,000 of Limited Tax Bonds, Series 2013, of Consolidated School District No. 12 was also passed.

Sharon Rambo addressed the Board with her concerns regarding a violation of the Sunshine Law during a special called board meeting held Oct. 17. Rambo said the board violated the law because they did not let her speak at the meeting even though she was on the agenda.

The Oct. 17 meeting was held specifically to adopt the 2013-2014 budget and members would not approve the agenda until it was amended to state the budget as the only item.

Committee meeting reports

Dial gave a report from the Personnel and Student Affairs Committee with the following recommendations:

To allow Cindy Hendrix and community leaders to work together to determine each year a subset topic in the Social Studies Fair regarding Morehouse Parish

To authorize the Board President to sign documents verifying the Wellness Policy review, (the review was presented at the committee meeting)

To enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Healthier Generation to assist the school system in implementing its wellness plan

All items received second motions and passed

Fenceroy presented the following from the Buildings, Properties and Transportation Committee:

To allow Dr. Noflin to work with Mark Brown, a registered forester, in the development of a timber management plan. This motion carried.

To recommend that all schools participate in the Keep Morehouse Beautiful Christmas decorating plan. The theme is "Christmas begins with Christ. After discussion from Melton, who said he did not personally have a problem with the theme but did want to remind the Board of the possible legal ramifications of using "Christ."

Board attorney Steve Katz told the members that a general theme would be fine as long as it was not as specific as "Christmas begins with Christ." (A follow-up story of this item will be in Friday's Enterprise.)

The board voted, in a roll call vote with Diel and Stephens voting no, to allow schools to decorate and use "Merry Christmas" as a theme if they so desired.

"I am voting no because I don't want to dictate what the schools use. I am with Mrs. Hendrix in my thoughts that they should be able to use "Christmas begins with Christ," Diel said.