2017 School bond issue to offer future community benefits

A Baldwyn School Bond Issue will be up for election by taxpayers on Thursday, January 5, 2017.

Baldwyn Schools’ Superintendent Jason McKay explained the necessity of this school bond at the December monthly city board of aldermen meeting last week.

“We have a vision for a Vocational Education building on our school campus. This building and its resources will not be limited to just our students but will be available to the whole community as well,” Superintendent McKay explained.

The school bond issue would be for the funding of a Vocational Education building on the high school campus and would be voted on in 2017. The taxpayers would not receive the first assessment until 2018. Currently, Baldwyn Schools has two existing school bonds which will expire in 2022 and 2024.

“We have a great opportunity at this moment to seize the chance to broaden our students’ education, career options, and more along with the citizens of the community,” Superintendent McKay added.

The cost of the building is estimated at $2 million for an 11,900 square feet building with four classrooms, two workshops with extended ceilings, one conference room, four offices, two bathrooms, a lobby, a dock lift, and expandable entrances.

Mississippi Department of Education would provide funding for five teachers, one principal, and one counselor for the vocational building. Baldwyn Schools has also made partnership with local manufacturers including APMM, HM Richards, and Southern Motion. Each of these manufacturers will be donating equipment for the two workshops in the facility which will house a furniture manufacturing class and a manufacturing technician class. The school is also seeking a grant to help fund the remaining equipment for the building.

Currently, approximately 40 Baldwyn students are attending the Prentiss County Vocational Education facility in Booneville to take vo-tech classes, while some students are also taking vocational classes on the Baldwyn High School campus as well. Vocational classes on the BHS campus at this time include Teacher Academy, Agri-Science, Family and Consumer Science classes, STEM, Career Pathways Exploration (CPE), and Business classes. However, the school board and administration wishes to expand these class options for their students and community members.

“We know that not every student is college bound, and some of our students learn best in hands-on environments. So we want to offer as many options as we can so that every student has the chance to meet his/her potential for their future career or college choice,” Superintendent McKay noted.

The new vocational building would house some of the existing vo-tech classes including Teacher Academy and Business classes, but would also add the furniture manufacturing and manufacturing technician class.

According to reports, Baldwyn would be the second school in the state to offer a furniture manufacturing vocational class, and the only school in the state to offer a manufacturing technician class.

Many of these vocational classes require testing and procedures for credit to be received by students. Some of the examinations will include students having the chance to receive a National Career Readiness Certificate and National Construction Education Certification. These certifications would be resume builders for job placements upon applying for jobs after high school graduation. Basically, students who receive these certifications would be job ready rather than having to undergo training prior to working in particular fields.

“Again the education provided in this new building would not be limited to BHS students. We have already invited Lee County Schools, Prentiss County Schools, and Booneville High School to attend the facility for their students to take the vocational classes alongside our students. This would in turn bring in more revenue for our vocational programs,” Superintendent McKay explained.

Currently, Baldwyn Schools pays a fee for BHS students attending the Prentiss County Vo-Tech which is estimated to be $35,000 yearly.

“We would also be able to offer night classes for adults in the community wanting to receive job training. We have been speaking with local manufacturers and other organizations that can help us provide these classes.”

The Need

*Production and instructional center for growing vocational programs

*Provide venue for development of vocational program

*Resume builder of certifications for college and career

*National Career Readiness Certification available

*National Construction Education Certification available

*Adult job training night classes

*Partnership with local manufacturers

*Attraction for new/incoming businesses and manufacturers

The Cost

Taxpayer’s Estimated Costs on $2 million school bond issue

Property ValueEstimated Taxes Per Month

All costs based on 2016 assessed valuation information.

Student and Community Testimonials

“Vo-Tech is a good learning experience for whatever career you choose for your future. It’s a great non-classroom experience where you can participate in first-hand work about your future career,” BHS seniors CJ McGaha and Kison Cole said.

“Everything in vocational classes is hands-on meaning we learn about it and then we have to perform and even get to see professionals in job shadowing. My metal fabrications class has given me first hand experience to keep me interested in a career in this field and be knowledgeable about it,” BHS juniors Alex Curnutt and Logan Hutcheson.

“Vo-Tech has given me the opportunity to job shadow in several health care careers like nursing, lab work, physical therapy, and others. It has also given me the opportunity to see the real side of health care that I wouldn’t have seen in just the regular classroom without it. With this two-year experience, I plan to study health care in college for my future career,” BHS senior Russ Trollinger said.

“This is very exciting news not just for our school but for the whole town and community. This will help better prepare our young people to secure jobs in the future as well as give adults a chance to receive education and job training. This is also very attractive to our current and future businesses and manufacturers of the area. We thank Baldwyn Schools for their efforts in having this vision for our community,” Mayor Michael James said.

“The collaboration among a K-12 public school, businesses, and community colleges is one of the greatest education improvements that can be done at the local level. This project will allow for students to be certified in many areas and begin working upon high school graduation rather than going through training and temp services before they can really start their career. Hopefully, this project and collaboration can be a model for our state as a whole,” Mississippi District 18 Representative Jerry Turner said.

“Adding a vocational training facility is a very exciting opportunity for not just Baldwyn students but for Lee and Prentiss Counties also. After visiting some 31 public Mississippi schools this year, this facility will be unique to Baldwyn, and we hope it will become an educational pilot program for the state. Students in Lee County Schools, Prentiss County Schools, and Booneville Schools will have the chance to receive vocational training and certifications for their future careers. This a wonderful advancement for the Prentiss and Lee County business and manufacturing employments also,” Mississippi District 6 Senator Chad McMahan said.

“A vocational educational facility will be a great asset to both Prentiss and Lee Counties. Not all students are college-bound, and it will be great opportunity for students who take part in this program to graduate high school and enter the work force immediately,” Mississippi District 5 Senator JP Wilemon said.

“We will be working with the local community to strengthen the community’s work force. We have been involved with the planning of this facility and its curriculum since the beginning. We know this will be an opportunity for local students to help make their decision about college or integrate into the work force after high school. We want to help one student at a time to become a stronger community,” APMM General Manager Kim Krumbie noted.

“This partnership is exciting because we are able to be an influence and aid to the local district along with growing and developing future employment opportunities for Southern Motion and the community,” Southern Motion Human Resource Manager Joe Vance.

“We are excited to partner with Baldwyn Schools in this project. We see the benefit not only in helping the students but also in our future employments. The vocational training will help students receive education and tools they need to work in businesses like ours. This is really a positive for Baldwyn Schools and for us as a manufacturing business,” HM Richards Director of Human Resources Brad Boyd said.

More Information

A public meeting about the 2017 school bond issue election will be held at the BHS auditorium on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 7 p.m. with Baldwyn Schools’ school board and administration. Parents, teachers, elected officials, citizens, taxpayers and voters, are all invited to attend.

January 5, 2017 voting polls will be located at Prentiss County Electric Power Association Baldwyn Office 106 East Clayton Street for Prentiss County voters and at Baldwyn City Hall 202 South Second Street for Lee County voters. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


BHS expands curriculum to include on-site vocational classes

In August students at Baldwyn Schools began their 2016-2017 school year. This school year will have more class options for BHS students.

Last year BHS partnered with the Prentiss County and Booneville Vocation-Technology School to enroll 40 BHS students in vocational classes including Health Sciences I, Auto Services I, Business Fundamentals, Construction, Teacher Academy I, and Architecture and Design I. Students were bused from BHS to the Vo-Tech campus in Booneville each day.

Students are now able to take some of the vocational classes at the BHS campus. Business Fundamentals I-II and Business Finance/Accounting Fundamentals along with Teacher Academy I are now offered at BHS.

“These are our first steps towards offering vocational classes on site, and we do have plans to continue growing our vocational education,” BHS Principal Jeff Palmer said.

Students who choose to enroll in the other vocational classes offered at the Booneville vo-tech campus will continue to be bused each day to their class.

“Having on-site vo-tech classes helps us free up how many students we can enroll in vocational classes. Now that some students will be taking vo-tech classes here at BHS, that opens up more of the 40 slots for the Booneville campus classes,” Palmer added.

Other subjects that continue to be offered at BHS in the field of vocation-technology are Agriculture, STEM, Family Consumer Science, and Cooperation Education.

“Last year’s experience with students taking vocation-technology classes went well. Students were exposed to programs of study and careers that they had never been exposed to. We want to continue to offer programs of study that interest not just college-bound students. These vo-tech classes will be more career-oriented rather than academic,” Palmer noted.


Vo-Tech classes creates hands-on learning opportunities for students

Some 40 plus Baldwyn High School sophomores, juniors, and seniors have been engaged in vocation-technology classes through Prentiss County and Booneville since the start of this school year.

BHS students have had some pre-requisites to meet such as completing Biology I with an overall “B” average to enroll in Health Science I. Other classes open for students to apply for include Auto Services I, Business Fundamentals, Construction, Teacher Academy I, and Architecture and Design I. 

“I am really enjoying taking classes at the vo-tech. I get to learn first-hand about the medical field. I will even get to visit clinics and get a feel for my future career,” BHS junior Mahalle Howell said.

Students enrolled in these classes are provided bus transportation by Baldwyn Schools to the vo-tech facility in Booneville. Students are enrolled in the class during the full-length of the school year during their first block period of the school day. 

“Our students seem to be excited to attending vo-tech classes. It is already making a positive effect on their futures. We are also very thankful to Prentiss County and Booneville for helping us offer these classes to our students. And we also want to thank the Baldwyn School Board for being supportive through this educational decision,” Baldwyn Superintendent Jason McKay said. 

“This is an additional cost that our school system is taking on, but it is also an investment in our students and school to create more opportunities for both.” 

After completing their first year of a vo-tech class, students will then have the opportunity to take a second year in their select field of study chosen from their first year. Second year class offerings include Health Science II, Auto Service II, Marketing, Carpentry, Teacher Academy II, and Architecture and Design II. These second level courses allow students to gain field and clinical experiences in their classes. Second level courses also have requirements that stem from the student’s first year class. 

For each year-long course completed by students, two high school graduation credits can be awarded.