Hazlehurst Schools making progress

The 2009-2010 school year is now about 30 days away from its beginning.  Many classes have mailed or posted their supply lists–showing the items that each student should have with him on Day 1.  As summer begins to wind down over the next few weeks, the anticipation for the new school year will build with each passing day.

Hazlehurst City School District begins Year 2 under the  official guidance of the MS Dept. of Education, as we all know.  Recent conversations with conservator James Reeves and financial advisor Suzanne Smith have been of the positive trends going on in the district.

The district’s debt load is low allowing for some wiggle room on a few much needed physical projects.

The budget deficit that was in the millions of dollars at the end of FY08 has beent trimmed considerably and will be nearly be erased by the end of FY10.  

The number of office staff personnel is leaner and production and efficiency has increased.

Maintenance, which has plagued the district for years because of aging facilities, rising cost of materials and the need to keep fixing an re-fixing restrooms because of poor behavior by some students, is improving steadily.

Morale, which was at an all time low just last year, is improving in the school and in the community.

Smith pointed out that the state set out to tackle the big financial mess in the district, first, while using all other resources to begin improvement of student performance.  The improving financial situation has allowed teacher training to become a higher priority, as well.  As time goes on and finances improve more, the focus will be shift more directly to students learning and achieving.

So, all of this is good news for the Hazlehurst City School District.  Parents and students can enjoy the remaining weeks of summer break and look forward eagerly and with pride to the coming school year, once again.  And, it has been a long time coming.

Sure, several hurdles remain for the district to become the vision that we all have–a haven of top-notch instruction that compels students to learn well, to achieve highly and to contribute mightily to society.  The state’s plan is working to help bring the district there, one step at a time, one hurdle at a time with strong leadership in key positions.

Progress is being made.

Joe B. Coates

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