Parents given choice about masks in schools unless Governor says different


Jackson Parish School Superintendent David Claxton told Board members and those in attendance at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting held on Monday, August 2nd that the decision of whether or not students should wear masks will ultimately be their parents choice unless Governor Jon Bel Edwards says differently. 

“Naturally if the governor decrees that masks are required we will comply but while we highly recommend that masks are worn at school, we are not mandating it to be done,” said Claxton. “Our only objective is to do what is best for the kids.”

Claxton went on to explain that while the board’s decision is in regard to when a student is at the school, that had no bearing on when a student was on a bus.

“In regard to while a student is on a bus that fall under federal guidelines which state that a mask is required.”

Claxton’s statement came after board members Gerry Mims, Rickey McBride, Wade McBride, Gloria Davis, Dennis Clary (President), Mary Saulters and Calvin “Bart” Waggoner had decided to approve the Jackson Parish School reopening plan which led to visitor Joey Stringer addressing the board when public comments were asked to be heard.

Stringer indicated that after reading the plan he was confused about the Boards position and that he felt that it should be the parents decision on whether a mask should be worn or not. |

“I feel that as a parent I should have the final say so about my child having to wear a mask at school,” said Stringer. 

Board member Saulters echoed Stinger’s request.

“Parent want to have their say and control over their kids.”

The discussion and action on this came after the 2021-22 General Fund and Special Revenues Budget was approved as well as the 2021-22 Jackson Parish Virtual Instruction Program.  

Chairperson Gloria Davis then submitted the recommendations made by the Executive Finance Committee which the board unanimously approved as follows.

(1) Pay the General Fund, Federal Program, Food Service, Sales Tax, Special Education, District Maintenance bills.
(2) Pay Employer’s Share of Office of Group Benefits insurance premiums from General Fund for the September 2021 sales tax distribution.
(3) Pay $7,800.00 to Nepris, Inc. for renewal of Annual Site Licenses for Jonesboro Hodge High School, Quitman High School and Weston High School, to be paid from 2021-2022 Carl Perkins grant funds.
(4) Pay $15,576.00 to Career Compass of Louisiana to provide individual College and Career Coaching to all seniors in the parish, to be paid from Career Compass of Louisiana funds.
(5) Renew the Cooperative Agreement between the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service and Jackson Parish School Board. It will be in effect for one (1) year, July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022 at a cost of $10,000.00 per year, to be paid from the General Fund.
(6) Pay Software and Services in the amount of $20,500.00 for the annual billing for Software Support, to be paid from the General Fund.
(7) Pay $5,700.00 to Claims Administrative Service, Inc. for the renewal of the 2021-2022 Claims Handling and Safety Services agreement, to be paid from the General Fund.
(8) Purchase 3 new Activ Panels from AXI Education for Special Education purposes, one (1) for Quitman High School – two (2) for Weston High School at a cost of $9,878.34, to be paid from IDEA funds.
(9) Pay $5,919.76 for the renewal of the Unique Learning System licenses to be used in Special Education classrooms, to be paid from IDEA funds.
(10) Approve hiring a Special Education Paraprofessional to assist with the multi handicap program at Weston High School to be paid out of IDEA funds. This will be a year by year job based on need.
(11) Approve granting Superintendent Claxton permission to approve all expenditures up to $10,000.00 without Board approval.

Chairperson Mary Saulters then presented to the Board the following recommendations of the Building and Grounds Committee which the board unanimously accepted.

(1) Accept low quote of $17,545.00 from Hot2Cold Heating, A/C & Electrical LLC for 3 Goodman Heatpump Rooftop Units for Weston High School, to be paid from ESSERS II.
(2) Accept low quote of $96,000.00 from Southern Roofing & Vinyl Siding LLC for new roof at Jonesboro Hodge High School cafeteria, to be paid from ESSERS II.
(3) Accept low quote of $63,300.00 from Southern Roofing & Vinyl Siding LLC for a new roof at Weston High School Elementary building, to be paid from ESSERS II.
(4) Accept low quote of $60,800.00 from Southern Roofing & Vinyl Siding LLC for a new roof at Jonesboro Hodge High School Jr. High building, to be paid from ESSERS II.
(5) Accept low quote of $84,200.00 from Southern Roofing & Vinyl Siding LLC for a new roof at Jonesboro Hodge High School Girl’s Gym, to be paid from ESSERS II.
(6) Approve payment to Mabry Company in the amount of $9,200.00 for the Quitman High School Parking Lot change order, to be paid from Quitman District funds.
(7) Accept low quote of $318,500.00 from Amethyst Construction, Inc. for Weston High School Parking Lot addition project, to be paid from Weston District funds.

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