VWSD board elects Pratt president

Published 12:30 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stirgus moves to VP

The vice president and president of the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees swapped positions Thursday.

District 1 Trustee Bryan Pratt, who served a one-year term as vice president of the board, was elected president on a 3-2 vote. After the vote for president, Jim Stirgus Jr., who was nominated by District 2 Trustee Alonzo Stevens, was unanimously elected as vice president. Pratt held the president’s position in 2012 while Stirgus held the vice presidency the same year.

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Before passing the gavel, Stirgus thanked the group, saying “It’s been an honor to be your president the past year,” to the group of about 40.

“I think Mr. Pratt will do a wonderful job and I’d like to thank you all who voted for me. There are better days ahead. The worst is over, I promise you,” Stirgus added before the two swapped seats.

District 4 Trustee Joe Loviza was unanimously re-elected as board secretary. The votes on board titles came during trustees’ monthly meeting.

Following a brief update from Vicksburg High School Principal Deowarski McDonald on the academic plan of action — a plan for VHS to improve its academic rating with the Mississippi Department of Education, the board recognized the 15 teachers who were honored earlier this month for being elected teacher of the year at their respective schools.

Later, Dale McClung, the district’s financial director, told board members that, despite a slight uptick in February’s expenses, the district was narrowing a deficit that brings its cash reserves close to a state-mandated percentage of the district’s budget.

At the fiscal year, the district is required by state law to have at least 7 percent of its nearly $56 million budget — about $3.8 million.

McClung said current estimates show the district about $800,000 short of that figure.

“Our payroll, as anticipated, went up a little bit in February from January because of substitutes, and also changes in staff,” he said. “The amount you pay changes each month.”

McClung said he used the most recent monthly figures to anticipate expenses through the end of the current fiscal year that ends in June.

Loviza acknowledged that the district’s anticipated deficit has shrunk from earlier estimates.

“Early this year, we had a lot more in the hole to catch up,” Loviza said. “We’re doing a good job cutting that down … It’s getting better?”

“It is,” McClung replied.