On Friday the Vicksburg Daily News published two school-related stories.
The first was about a snafu that caused teachers and other employees to not get paid on time. The other was about the school board voting Thursday night to increase Superintendent Shealy’s pay to $190,800.
We had the pay increase story done first, but were waiting on a quote from the district’s media contact. We held the pay increase story until after 5 p.m. waiting for the reply. Since no reply came in, we went with the story as it was after normal business hours had passed.
The combination of those two stories caused a firestorm in the community. People were angered that teachers were not paid on time. That anger was compounded when the community learned Shealy’s pay was increased to almost 200k.
At the Vicksburg Daily News we believe the community deserves the whole story.
With that in mind we want to get the rest of the story for you; therefore, we would like to invite the members of the school board to answer some questions on these topics and a couple of others. Board members Pratt, Stevens, Stirgus Jr, Slaton and Bullard, we will publish your answers in the order in which you respond. You may respond here or send your responses to:
The district has a D rating, an 80.7% graduation rate, and the board just voted to increase superintendent’s pay to 191k and extend his contract another 3 years. How did you vote and explain to the community why you voted that way.
Many educators had automatic drafts set up for the last working day of the month. Will the district reimburse educators for overdraft fees caused by the late pay? Why or why not?
The VWSD is doing many good things for the students that excel. The Leader In Me program, the Academy of Innovation and the RCEC are all excellent opportunities. However the district is still rated a D. What are we doing to help those students who are not excelling?
Some schools do not reflect the demographics of the community that surrounds them. Why is that?
More specifically, the racial make-up of student populations varies drastically among schools in the same approximate zones. (Ex.: Redwood, Beechwood, Sherman Avenue, and Bovina are all in the northern section of the county, but the racial balance of each is drastically different.)
The pandemic has impacted all of our lives. The board made the determination to allow sports, including contact sports, to be played. Were the fine arts programs given the same support? Specifically, the high school musicals at both WC and VHS have been mentioned recently in social media posts by people upset about the restrictions placed on them. Please explain your position.
There is a nationwide teacher shortage, and the district seems to be struggling to find and keep qualified teachers. How is this problem being addressed?
Because of the virtual option given to students this year, teacher workload has drastically increased. Teachers must now work more to plan for and accommodate both sets of learners. They’re spending more personal time reading and answering emails, cleaning, and learning to navigate the new technology requirements. What is the district’s plan to compensate teachers for this? Is the district planning to supplement teacher salaries?
The recent audit by the state revealed “massive fraud and waste.” Will the district take action to press charges against those responsible and recoup those lost funds? Please explain your answer.
It has been reported to the Vicksburg Daily News that the district now requires educators to use their personal or sick leave if they are quarantined. Is that accurate? If so, please explain why you’ve done this.
Did you consult with other board members, the superintendent or media sources within the district to answer these questions? If so, please explain why.
District #1 – Bryan Pratt, up for reelection in 2022.
District #2 – Alonzo Stevens, up for reelection in 2024
District #3 – James Stirgus, Jr, up for reelection in 2026
District #4 – Kimble Slaton, up for election in 2026
District #5 – Sally Bullard, up for reelection in 2022