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Columbus appoints new school board member

 

 

Columbus Municipal School District has a new board member. 

 

The Columbus City Council voted 4-2 Tuesday in favor of appointing Aubra Arletta Turner to the school board of trustees. 

 

Aubra Turner fills the seat previously held by Alma Turner, who resigned Nov. 1, citing health reasons. The board seats are five-year terms; this seat's term will end March 2, 2014. 

 

Each board member gets a $200-a-month stipend from the school district. The board is responsible for overseeing a $43 million budget. The district has about 4,500 students, according to the Mississippi Department of Education website. 

 

Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens made the motion, and Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor seconded it. Mickens, Taylor, Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box and Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart voted in favor of the appointment. Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem and Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin voted against the motion. 

 

Aubra Turner has a master's degree in workforce development, and she is the marketing director for Urban Radio in Columbus. She is not related to Alma Turner. 

 

"I talked to her for a good while, and I was impressed with her," Box said. "She has kids in the Columbus public school system. She is highly educated, she has a master's degree, she has budget experience, and she has worked in the community." 

 

Gavin made a motion earlier to appoint Jason Spears to the board, which was seconded by Box. Only Gavin and Box voted in favor of the motion; the other four councilmen voted against it. 

 

"I felt like we needed someone on the school board who could help the budgeting process," Gavin said, noting Spears is a financial planner. 

 

Box agreed, saying Spears was his "first choice" and he "brought a lot to, the table as far as budgeting. 

 

"I just wasn't able to get that pulled off," Box said, noting he believes Aubra Turner will do a good job. 

 

Dinnetta Karriem, Stefanie Jones, Clifford Reynolds, Keith E. Worshaim, Julie Jordan and Adrienne R. Morris were the other applicants. 

 

Dinnetta Karriem is Kabir Karriem's sister-in-law. She works at Mississippi State University. Jones works in the Lowndes County school system. Reynolds is a principal at West Lowndes High School and was one of the three candidates in the recent Lowndes County superintendent election. Worshaim is a retired Columbus police officer. Jordan is an education consultant and former city school board member. 

 

In other matters, the council:

     

     

  • Approved a contract with Construction Engineering and Inspection Services for the Bluecutt intersection improvement project. The project includes adding traffic signals and turn lanes at the Bluecutt and Military Road intersection. It is a $1 million project, which the Mississippi Department of Transportation will fund. The city paid $50,000 in engineering costs. 

     

  • Approved a contract with Construction Engineering and Inspection Services for the Old River Bridge rehabilitation project. It is a $2.5 million project to convert the bridge crossing the river into a pedestrian bridge. The city of Columbus, Lowndes County and Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau are paying $233,000 each toward the project. The remainder comes from an MDOT grant. 

     

  • Dealt with five city board vacancies. 

     

    Leon Speck resigned Nov. 18 from the Municipal Election Commission, and the city will search for an applicant to fill the remainder of the term. It is a four-year term. Only one person has applied, Worshaim. The council can make an appointment at the Jan. 17 meeting. 

     

    Jabari Edwards resigned from the Columbus Light and Water Board on Dec. 1, and the city will search for an applicant to fill the remainder of the term. It is a four-year term. Three people have applied: Andrew Colom, Rowena S. Worshaim and Jessie Davis Koonce. The council can make an appointment at the Jan. 17 meeting. 

     

    Darren Leach's term on the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals will expire Feb. 1. The council can make an appointment at the Feb. 7 meeting. It is a three-year term. No one has applied at this time. 

     

    Wythe Rhett and Phillip Long's terms on the City Planning Commission will expire Feb. 1. The city can make an appointment at the Feb. 7 meeting. The seats are both three-year terms. No one has applied. 

     

  • Approved reappointing M.L. "Mac" McCarty to the Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Management Authority. His current term expires Dec. 31, and the new term will last four years. 

     

  • Approved hiring four entry-level firefighters for Columbus Fire and Rescue, contingent on successful completion of pre-employment drug screens and physical examinations. 

     

  • Approved taking down the traffic light at Seventh Avenue North and 13th Street North and replacing it with a four-way stop sign.

 

 

 

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