Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway will face no additional disciplinary action from the SOCSD Board of Trustees outside of last year’s two-week suspension after he was convicted of two counts of simple assault Friday.
In a prepared statement released after a two-hour executive session Tuesday night, the school board said it respected the judicial process, noted the conviction “is separate from the board’s personnel decision” and said it would not revisit August’s decision to suspend the school superintendent for 10 days without pay.
SOCSD Board of Trustees President Jenny Turner said the school board “stands by the decision” it made last year.
“I think we always consider the community, we always consider the students and we always consider the district when we make all of our decisions,” she said.
Turner did not comment further on Tuesday’s closed-door talks, citing the protected nature of personnel discussions.
Holloway was fined $1,000 Friday by Justice Court Judge C. Martin Haug after he admitted to firing a handgun into the air during a confrontation with his neighbor, Roy Couvion, whose step-daughter was also at the scene.
Holloway testified he feared for his safety at the time of the incident — he previously filed simple assault charges against Couvion after he allegedly punched him and threw him to the ground in May — but his neighbor contended he never left his own property during the confrontation.
Roy Carpenter, who represented Holloway, is expected to appeal the decision to circuit court.
Partnership school renderings unveiled
In other business, architectural firm JH&H unveiled designs for the SOCSD-Mississippi State University partnership school expected to house countywide students in grades 6-7 and the university’s college of education in the 2018-19 academic year.
Plans displayed by architect A. Bruce Wood show the school will feature classrooms and observational areas for an estimated 900 students, other university office space and a common areas for teacher planning, where SOCSD and university educators can work together to implement theory into lessons.
The 123,000-square-foot facility now has an estimated price tag of $27.5 million.
State lawmakers previously allocated $5 million toward the project, and another $5 million is expected in the coming legislative term once SOCSD moves forward with a local bond issuance. MSU also pledged $5 million toward the school, with another $5 million coming from the land donation for the project.
SOCSD originally approved a $16 million-maximum bond intent notice earlier this year after the project was forecast to only require $10 million from local sources. Now, trustees are expected to move forward with a $12.5 million issuance this winter and open bids on the project in February or March.
“We discussed (the unknown costs) in the reverse referendum, because we really won’t know all the costs until the job is bid and accepted,” Holloway told school board members.
Bruce said the $27.5 million estimate presented Tuesday is “pretty solid.”
The bond issuance is expected to be tax-neutral since the district will utilize expiring millage rolling off the books this year. SOCSD approved a $59.4 million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17 in July, which is anticipated to keep taxes level to the 66.05-mill rate it operated with last fiscal year.
JH&H’s designs will be presented to MSU’s design review committee Friday, Bruce said, and still must work its way through other university and State College Board approval processes.
The firm’s portfolio includes MSU’s Colvard Student Union, Fresh Food Company and the Leo Seal Family Business School addition.
■ View the SOCSD-MSU partnership school presentation at http://bit.ly/2bBbvg7
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch