Mars retires after 34 years with JDC school district

Published 1:08 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The first Jefferson Davis County School Board meeting of 2023 was held Jan. 9 at the Academic Success Center in Carson. After the welcome, a moment of silence and Pledge of Allegiance, the board adopted the agenda. Board President offered a welcome new board member Shari Bryant, who serves District 1.

Election of board officers was the first task of the year. Officers serve for one year and are elected each year at the first meeting.

District 2 School Board Member Bobby Wilson made a motion to keep officers the same as they were the previous year. “We have had a great year and I would appreciate leaving it the same,” said Wilson. Nadine Thompson made a second to the motion. There were no questions or concerns raised and the board voted to approve officers as-is. President of the Jefferson Davis County School District is Shonda Ard Burre, vice-president is Bobby Wilson and secretary-treasurer is Nadine Thompson.

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JDC Superintendent Ike Haynes announced the retirement of district secretary Veronica Mars.

“We are probably going to have to hire two people to replace Ms. Mars as she has done a lot for a long time for JDCSD,” said Haynes.

MDE requires that good records are kept for all districts in the state.  “We have never had one citation in any accreditation audit and our records and board minutes have been without flaw,” said Haynes. “She is meticulous and pays attention to detail and everything the board says or does is recorded in the minutes.”

“You have kept me in line so many times and been there for whatever I needed over the past six years, and I can’t thank you enough for what you have done to make me be a better board member,” said Bobby Wilson.

District 5 School Board Member Von Norwood called Mars “irreplaceable.”

“I have sat through many exit audits after auditors came and the auditors told us that no other district has ever had record keeping like Jefferson Davis County,” said Norwood. “Even when bad decisions were made by the board years ago, the record keeping was always on point.”

Mars was presented a certificate and gifts after over 34 years of exemplary work and dedication to Jefferson Davis County School District.

Carver Elementary was recognized as the school with the highest average daily attendance in the district with 99.20 percent. All campuses exceeded 95 percent for December.

Chief of Police for the JDC School District, Anthony Sims, gave an update on the active shooter training. Sims has been working with principals at each school updating a crisis plan and triage procedure. Sims hopes to recognize students that may have a problem on the front end and try to get them some needed help. Sims and his department continue to provide up-to-date training for staff and students which includes two active student drills per year per MDE.

Dr. Deborah Dace gave a Department of Instructional Programs report for the second nine weeks.

Shelia Copeland gave financial report with financial statements and her report was approved and accepted.

Superintendent Haynes’ contract was updated and approved. He received a 3.78 out of 4.0 rating from the school board. “I want to commend Mr. Haynes for moving the district forward,” said Norwood. “We wouldn’t even be in a position to consider some of the things we are doing without him.”

In other board news, the board approved the following without opposition:

  Superintendent’s Report

• Approved of revised 2022-2023 Salary Guide.

• Adopt consent agenda.

• Approved of agricultural Bid S16T6NR17W (18.00 acres more or less) (current lease $20.00 per acre $360.00).

• Approved of agricultural bid S16T6NR17W (27.00 acres more or less) (current lease $20.00 per acre $540.00).

• Approved to apply for RUS Grant Opportunity/grant writer Martin Associates

Contract #001062023 Agreement

• Approved transfer from Fund 1841 (16th Section Interest Fund) to Fund 1120 (District Maintenance Fund) for Martin Associates.

• Approved PCO#2 and PCO#4 for J.E. Johnson.

• Approved JDCSD Campus Police Department Administrative Officer’s Manual

• Approved  threat assessment protocol.

• Approved threat assessment triage and assessment forms.

• Approved Ferguson Federal Credit Union proposal for JDC High School.

• Approved the extended school day/after school program-ARP (American Rescue Plan) Learn More Grant-Kirkland Group.

• Approved staff for the extended school day/after school program-ARP (American Rescue Plan) Learn More Grant-Kirkland Group.

• Approved  Book Systems, Inc.-Atrium Express Subscription Hosting & Customer Service Agreement for JDC Middle School.

• Approved out of state travel to TAASRO Leadership Symposium, Feb. 6-7, Orange Beach, Alabama.

• Approved out of state trip to WWII Museum, JDCHS, Jan. 13, New Orleans, Louisiana.

• Approved facility use request from Holly Springs Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for Carver Elementary School.

• Approved facility use request for the Jaguar Youth League to use the JDC High School gym.

• Superintendent’s Actions MS Code Section 37-9-14(z), personnel hire.

• Personnel resignation- Veronica Mars.

• Personnel recommendation for employee status change and new hire.

• Approved claims.