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Health providers feel snubbed by school board

NATCHEZ — A group of area doctors and health care providers told the local school board Thursday that they feel snubbed.

In March, the Natchez-Adams County School Board voted unanimously to apply for a grant that would enable the district to contract the Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center, Inc., to provide primary and preventive care to students within the district.

The clinic is based in Fayette, but does have a Natchez branch.

Dr. David Timm approached the school board Thursday as a representative of 20 local physicians and nurse practitioners.

Timm said he was concerned that the district went into an agreement with the Jefferson County clinic without contacting local health care agents to discuss creating a program.

“We would be eager to start a health center up,” Timm said. “My people and I were shocked that an institution apart from Adams County was considered for doing this.”

Timm said he hopes the board will consider working closely with an Adams County pool of health care workers to develop and operate a comprehensive health care program to provide care to its students.

The board took his suggestion under advisement.

If the grant that would fund the partnership with the Fayette clinic is approved, Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center, Inc., would organize, establish, equip, manage and provide staff for school-based clinics. The center will also coordinate health awareness services for the district. The district would provide space, electricity and other utilities for the operation and also provide maintenance, janitorial and security services.

In other news, the district is providing its kindergarten through third-grade students an opportunity to keep their minds active during the summer.

The board of trustees voted unanimously to offer students at West Primary School, Frazier Primary School and McLaurin Elementary School an opportunity to enter the 2010 Reading First Summer Supplemental Initiative.

The program will run from 8 a.m. to noon June 14 through July 16. The classrooms will boast a 10-to-1 student to teacher ratio.

The lessons include activities in the five components of reading — phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

Students will have a 90-minute uninterrupted reading block each day, along with a 60-minute block for writing.

The schools have each been granted $91,327 to pay for the program.

The district raised a total of $17,869 for Relay for Life.

David Troutman was sworn in as a board member.

Board member Harold Barnett was elected to serve as board chairman. Board member Dale Steckler will continue to serve as vice chair; Thelma Newsome will continue to serve as secretary; Benny Wright will continue to serve as assistant secretary.

Natchez High School’s cheerleaders will travel to Louisiana State University’s Cheerleaders Camp July 8-11. The program raised its own funds.

The school district will advertise for energy conservation solution companies qualifications bids in an effort to reduce energy consumption in the district.

The board approved a pay increase for the summer feeding program employees. Managers will receive a raise of $3 an hour and employees will receive a raise of 75 cents an hour.

With a 3-1 vote, with Troutman being the dissenting vote, the board approved a $15,000 contract for Clifton Taulbert to facilitate a three-day retreat for the district’s administrators.

The board approved a summer weight and exercise program for NHS and Robert Lewis Middle School, which will cost the district $10,000 to pay the coaches.

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