A new city School Board member from Ward 1 was appointed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last week following a lengthy discussion.
Nell Rogers, a former planner for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was appointed to serve the remainder of the term of Ron Sparnecht who resigned from the School Board last month.
Rogers was recommended by Ward 1 Alderman Josh Gamblin who told board members that she had a lifelong love for education and had previously served appointments under two governors.
"I was floored when she said she would serve," Gamblin said. "She will be a credit to that board and any other board she sits on."
Aldermen voiced no opposition to Rogers' appointment, but said they had been asked personally to attend a Parents for Public Schools' training session on appointing School Board members before hiring Sparnecht's successor.
Ward 2 Alderman Jim Fulton said PPS could meet with the board on April 17 and an appointment to the School Board could be made afterwards.
The consensus of the board, however, was that an appointee needed to be in place prior to the School Board's April meeting.
"The School Board can't run without full force," Ward 4 Alderman Cecil Nichols said. "We can't bypass this."
When questioned about the procedure, City Attorney Robert Thomas said that appointing a School Board member was the aldermen's job.
"I don't understand what's happening," he said. "I think it is unusual."
"I think it is silly, myself," he said.
Alderman-at-large Willie Jackson said he planned to attend a PPS meeting but noted that he was ready to cast his vote for School Board.
"I'd hate for this person to back out," he said.
Mayor James A. Young also agreed.
"The timing is just not here," he said, noting that aldermen had made other appointments to the School Board without PPS training.
"We have appointed two other people under the premise of their good name and reputation," Young said.
After Rogers was appointed by unanimous vote, Gamblin said she was dedicated to public schools.
"She wants to give of herself to do this," he said.
"She will be a tremendous asset," he said.
Rogers is a former 10th and 11th grade English teacher at Philadelphia High School. She was employed for many years as a planner for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, where she was involved with Tribal schools.
She is currently employed as bureau manager for Mississippi Development Authority's Disaster Recovery Division.
In other action, aldermen:
Accepted a $4,100 bid from Deanco Auction for a 1972 motor grader.
Accepted a $1,100 bid from Deanco for a 1999 Dodge one-ton flatbed truck.
Authorized that $5,200 from the equipment sale be placed in the Street Department's salary budget for summer workers.
Employed Brad Crockett and Josh Jolly as police officers at $10.75 an hour.
Approved a beer permit for Philadelphia Express at 920 Holland Ave.
Set a public hearing for May 6 for comments on a rezoning request for the old jail property on Myrtle Street. The owner is asking for the property to be rezoned from Commercial-2 to Residential-1.
Approved travel for the Police Chief and Assistant Chief to attend a 2014 summer Conference in Biloxi on June 17-20 and pay registration fees and travel expenses.
Contributed $500 to the Chamber of Commerce's Allies for Education scholarship fund.
Approved Waggoner Engineering to assist with the grant application on the Booker T. Gym roof.