By Pat Culverhouse
Webster Parish school system personnel will be receiving a long anticipated stipend by December 19. Hopefully.
Webster Parish School Board members adopted Monday a resolution to distribute the funds, setting the target date after hearing a more than one-hour tutorial on responsibilities of the school district’s financial department from Director of Business and Finance Crevonne Odom.
After explaining monthly duties and procedures, Odom said she planned to begin calculations on the stipend on Nov. 27, pointing out that in “…a perfect world, we would like to begin in February. But we know you are getting a lot of pressure…” to get the funds distributed.
At a previous meeting, board members had discussed the possibility of getting funds into the hands of parish personnel perhaps by late October.
Odom said with all other responsibilities of the staff, she could only assure the board that she and her staff would try to meet the target date. “I’m not going to say we can get everything done but we will do the best we can.” Later she added, “Whatever you decide to do I will do my best to execute.”
District 4 member Jonathan Guthrie asked Odom if she could give the board something more than a “try” to get the funds into the hands of parish personnel.
“Can we have a firm commitment to have this done by December 19? I think that’s a reasonable compromise. I keep hearing ‘try’ and I wonder if we can be more firm,” he said. “If we tell them the 19th and something happens they’ll think we’re being disingenuous.”
“I’m not going to give you anything more than we’ll do our best. That’s all I can give,” Odom responded.
Parish Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland told the board that he “…feels good about December 19,” noting Odom and the finance staff would be putting their resources to the best use to meet the target date.
Board members also gave special recognition Monday to the Doyline High School 2020 Class B state championship basketball team, the school’s first title since 1967.
Coach Mike Norman said the group “…set the foundation for the basketball program…” at the school where teams have posted a 106-10 record over the past three years.
Rowland said the celebration of the team’s success had been delayed since the victory came during a national COVID shutdown. “It has been a long time coming but these young men deserved the recognition. And, better late than never,” he said.
In other business, school board members approved a number of projects to be paid from various maintenance and sales tax funds. Those included:
- $240,228.80 to construct new softball batting cages and outdoor practice complex at Lakeside Jr/Sr High School.
- $44,247 for a three-year boiler service agreement for Minden High School; to be paid annually.
- A total of $13,450 to repair HVAC units on the Jr. High wing of Doyline High School.
- $8,400 to replace five-ton split system HVAC at Lakeside Jr/Sr High School football locker room.