Jones County School Superintendent answers your questions - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Jones County School Superintendent answers your questions

When Jones County School Superintendent Steve Thrash visited WDAM's morning show he answered as many questions as he could from viewers live on the air.

But, he couldn't get to all of them. So, we handed them over to him to answer on his own time.

Here are his responses:

[Comment From Delaine: ]
Do you think there are too many assistant superintendents in Mississippi?

Thrash - I am not aware of too many assistant superintendents in Mississippi.  Most districts have one or two assistant superintendents.  Jones County has two assistant superintendents and we are the 8th largest district in Mississippi. 

5:38  [Comment From Karl: ]
Do you think all students should go to college, or should they get vocational training.

Thrash - Today's global, 21st century workforce certainly requires more than a high school education. I believe it is important for students to find a job that allows them to use their strengths.  For many this will require a college education. However, there are numerous jobs in the career-technical area that are vital to our community's success and also well paying positions.

5:45  [Comment From Laura: ]
what would you have done if it was your school the lesbian girl wanted to go to prom with her girlfriend Thursday March 25, 2010 5:45 Laura

Thrash - Our district's proms are parent sponsored and held off campus making them a non-school function.

5:51  [Comment From Guest: ]
with all the budget cuts, how many teachers will be losing their jobs this year in both counties?

Thrash - The Jones County Schools hope to not have to lose teachers due to the budget cuts. Our goal is to handle the downsizing of our instructional staff through attrition.  You will see several positions that will not be filled when people retire or leave the district.

5:52  [Comment From Travis: ]
I recently read that Lamar County Schools is taking on a $1.5 million roof project. In these economic times, how will this project be funded? Thursday March 25, 2010 5:52 Travis

5:59  [Comment From Stephanie: ]
This is for Mr Thrash, how was Mr Walters fired for cussing when all the football coaches and others cuss everyday in frot of students?

Thrash - Due to personnel issues and pending litigation I cannot comment specifically to your question.  However, any inappropriate language should be reported to the administrator in charge and will be handled according to our policies. 

6:04  [Comment From Tessecca Bliven Tessecca Bliven: ]
What's with all the cut backs in teachers??? Are they still cutting back next school year?? Is the state dept. of ed. decreasing school funding again or what???

Thrash - Funds have been cut to school districts during this school year. The Jones County Schools have currently received a $3.2 million dollar cut. These cuts and the projected cuts for next year will cause us to reduce our teaching force. We hope to do this through attrition.

6:08  [Comment From dave dave: ]
why do the employees at the school bus barn use tobacco in the building and on the property?

Thrash - Any use of tobacco on our campuses is a violation of school policy and should be reported to the supervisor in charge. I will make sure our transportation director is aware of this question.

6:13  [Comment From Lynn: ]
Wouldn't it make sense for the legislature to forgive the school districts this year for the days missed because of weather issues? Wouldn't it put back thousands of dollars in the district's budgets? Thursday March 25, 2010 6:13 Lynn

Thrash - There has been some talk of allowing districts to not have to make-up bad weather days.  However, the legislature has not acted on this topic at this time.

6:20  [Comment From James: ]
My child is in Gifted Education and I'm worried that this will be an area that will be cut? What are the chances of this happening?

Thrash - The Jones County Schools are committed to continuing the Gifted Studies program.  However, we have decided that we will no longer offer the gifted studies program at a separate center.  We will now offer the program at each individual school. This will allow us to close the Star Reach Center at an annual savings of approximately $250,000.

6:20  [Comment From Mike in Lamar Co Mike in Lamar Co: ]
Is there too much emphasis on sports and will coaches be affected by budget cuts proportionally with other areas? 

Thrash - There is no question that sports plays an important role in our school system and in our society in general. However, academic performance is our #1 priority. Our goal is to get our students to bring the same passion they show on the athletic field to the classroom as well. Just like all of our programs, athletics will be evaluated to determine how we can save the district money during these difficult economic times.

6:20  [Comment From Tommie (Jones county) Tommie (Jones county): ]
Do you feel that cutting some of the assistants in the central offices would be beneficial to affording more money for the schools? Thursday March 25, 2010 6:20 Tommie (Jones county)

Thrash - I have reduced the central office administrative staff by one and half positions and will be exploring further cuts to reduce administrative cost.

6:20  [Comment From Brian K Brian K: ]
Here is my question. I once worked for a office supply business, in laurel, and had the opportunity to help a Jones county school teacher. I asked her what I could help her with. She replied, I'm not sure I have money to spend but I don't know what I want, but if I don't spend it I loose it. With this type of spending our budget will never be enough.

Thrash - I truly believe that your example is not indicative of most of our teachers. Teachers do get supply money from the state and some might struggle with how to spend it. However, most are eager to use these funds to enhance their classroom and have no problem knowing what to do with the funds.

6:20  [Comment From Guest: ]
Why can't Central Office personnel be cut and create quality assurance personnel to help meet the NCLB Initiative, instead of consolidating schools?

Thrash - I have made cuts to central office personnel and will continue to evaluate the best way to meet NCLB standards. 

6:21  [Comment From Gifford flint Gifford flint: ]
for mr thrash with 4 principals and security at each school would it make more sence to cut a higher salaried principle than an educator of our children

Thrash - It is our hope that no personnel will lose their job. We will continue to evaluate all areas in an effort to reduce cost during these tough times.

6:24  [Comment From James: ]
Why do the Jones County have so many principals in each school

Thrash - Most of our elementary schools have one principal and one assistant principals.  We do have 4 principals at each of our high schools.  The principalship is one of the most demanding and challenging jobs in education. This new era of accountability has made the job even more important.  At the high school level, our principals are also required to attend extra-curricular activities that are just about every night of the week. We will continue to evaluate our administrative design to make sure we are being as cost effective as possible.

6:26  [Comment From Guest: ]
have you ever considered cutting sports and putting those funds in PE classes so all children can be healthier?

Thrash - I have not considered cutting sports to fund PE.  However, I am pleased that the state of MS has recently passed legislation that requires schools to have more PE than ever before. Helping our children learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle is something that we are very passionate about.

6:27  [Comment From Guest: ]
why so many asst. super intents, principals in each school, lead teachers in each school.....

Thrash - These personnel are vital to the educational mission of our district. We will continue to evaluate our administrative design to make sure we are serving the needs of our students and teachers.

6:31  [Comment From bill: ]
We know how much teachers get paid ... where can we find out how much administration gets paid?

Thrash - Please call our office at 601-649-5201 and we will be happy to send you an administrative pay scale.

6:31  [Comment From Guest: ]
will Jones county schools be going to school uniforms in the near future

Thrash - I have heard no serious conversations about Jones County Schools going to uniforms.

6:33  [Comment From Jan Henry Jan Henry: ]
Will teachers be cut or just no new teachers hired

Thrash - Our goal is for no teachers to lose their jobs. The bulk of the savings will be found by not replacing teachers who retire or leave the district.

6:37  [Comment From Patricia Thrash Patricia Thrash: ]
If you need to ask for help from volunteers, why did the principal at South Jones H.S. spend so much money last summer digging up all the trees planted and redoing the office? It doesn't have to look better than the others. Much money was wasted there.

Thrash - The administration at South Jones has worked hard to improve the appearance of the campus.  I will share your concerns with the principal.

6:37  [Comment From Linda Jones Linda Jones: ]
Will sports be cut like tennis and softball? Tennis already is under funded

Thrash - We will not be cutting tennis or softball.

6:38  [Comment From Reta Reta: ]
Mr. Thrash, The revenue generated by the gulf coast casinos was originally intended for the school systems. What percentage, if any, does Jones co schools see of that revenue?

Thrash - The Jones County Schools do not receive any specific funds from coastal gaming.


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