Candidates for the open seat on the Starkville School District’s board of trustees, from left, Alfreda Outlaw, Juliette Weaver-Reese, Doug Bedsaul and Eric Heiselt, listen to Mayor Parker Wiseman’s instructions Tuesday before the city’s Board of Aldermen interviewed the group one-by-one. Aldermen ultimately chose Heiselt and appointed him to the school board for a five-year term. Photo by: Tim Pratt
February 16, 2011 10:28:00 AM
A longtime educator was appointed to the Starkville School District board of trustees Tuesday night.
With a 4 to 1 vote, the Starkville Board of Aldermen appointed Eric Heiselt to fill the seat of outgoing school board member Bill Weeks, who is stepping down after 20 years on the board. Heistelt''s five-year term begins March 8.
Only Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins voted against Heiselt''s appointment. Prior to the vote, Perkins voted in favor of a motion to appoint a different candidate, Community Counseling counselor Juliette Weaver-Reese. The motion to appoint Weaver-Reese failed, however, and the board appointed Heiselt with its second vote.
"I''m excited to do this," Heiselt said. "I hope the community will feel like they have an advocate in me and will come to me with their concerns, knowing I can''t satisfy everybody, but that I''ll do my best."
Heiselt is a veteran middle school and high school teacher, and is Director of Education Outreach and Student Programs at Mississippi State University''s Bagley College of Engineering. He has three children in the Starkville School District and has been active in parent-teacher organizations for several years.
Heiselt wants to see the school district improve on its absentee rate, especially for at-risk students, he said. He also wants to improve safety at schools.
The school board also should have to report back to the Board of Aldermen so its members are held accountable for their actions, Heiselt said. The school board doesn''t currently report to the Board of Aldermen.
Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn Sr. recused themselves from the interview and appointment processes Tuesday because both have family members who work for the Starkville School District.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said after the meeting he would not veto Heiselt''s appointment.
In other business Tuesday, aldermen voted 4-3 to hold a public hearing March 1 to discuss proposed amendments to the city''s sidewalk ordinance. Among the amendments is a proposal which would allow people to apply for variances from city sidewalk construction requirements if construction of those sidewalks causes an undue financial hardship.
To determine if an hardship exists, the city''s citizen-led transportation committee would meet quarterly to review and document the average unit price for sidewalk construction for the purposes of establishing a standard metric against which to measure proposed construction costs. These unit prices would be determined based on quarterly posted construction bid averages, as provided by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and consultation with the city engineer.
The city''s Board of Adjustments and Appeals would review the variance requests and could determine an undue financial hardship exists only if the estimated cost of sidewalk construction requirements per-linear-foot is more than twice the average rate documented by the transportation committee. The Board of Aldermen, however, will have the final say on whether or not to grant the variances.
A public hearing on the proposed amendments will take place during the board''s regularly scheduled meeting March 1 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.
Aldermen Tuesday also approved a final plat for the second phase of the Creamery at Central Station project, which provides for the construction of condominiums on the former milk plant''s second floor, and a plat for a La Quinta Inn and Suites on Highway 12 East.
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