JFK alumni raise money for legal fund

Mound Bayou residents heard what many consider great news at a town hall meeting Thursday.
It was announced that the committee to keep John F. Kennedy Memorial High School functioning as a high school had raised over $2,000 for legal fees.
On Jan. 22, the North Bolivar Consolidated School District Board of Trustees voted to realign schools by moving all high school students to Broad Street High School in Shelby and changing JFK to a Career Technical Education Center.
After finding out about the decision, Mound Bayou residents formed a committee, called J.F.K. United.
Each graduating class from JFK was asked to raise $500 each and the class of 1988 donated over $1,500.
Mound Bayou native Gilbert Thompson announced an Attorney Debra Giles of Indianola had been hired.
He said, "We hired an attorney and there are so many different angles that we can go about this."
He said he invited Superintendent Maurice Smith to the meeting but Smith was not present.
"What can we do to elevate the status of the school system,” asked Thompson.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education, both high schools in the North Bolivar Consolidated District are rated as D schools.
In the 2015-2016 school year, JFK was rated D and Broad Street was rated F. The 2016-2017 year school year final rating was that both school were rated D schools.
Thompson said, "We are not happy with a D and we are not happy with a C especially coming from our households.
"We have to fight this monster because we have been put in this situation by the state of Mississippi and that is who's really at fault.”
Another issue brought up during the meeting was Smith forming committees with students from both high schools to help with the rebranding.
Former JFK principal Dr. Wanda Stringer said, "Our superintendent is regularly going to the schools meeting with our children, putting them on committees to help close their own school.
"We have a superintendent who believes in meeting with the children but is unwilling to meet with the taxpayers.
Stringer added, "I always thought that the principals talk to the students and the superintendent talk to the principals."
During the last community meeting, Stringer said the board made an unsound financial decision because they do not know what the finances look like.
Stringer said, "Since the districts merged, there has been no annual audit as required by the state law.
"If you don't know what your finances look like, how can you make a sound decision to say that the answer to this problem is to close down JFK High School."
As the meeting concluded, JFK graduate Reverend Ricky School said J.F.K. United is still accepting donations to cover all legal costs and that anyone could donate.

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