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Starkville school district forms roundtable group


Tim Pratt



In an effort to better communicate with the public, the Starkville School District is forming a group of parents and community members who will meet regularly with SSD officials.  


The Superintendent''s Roundtable will meet for the first time July 15, though the time and location have not yet been decided, Superintendent Judy Couey said Tuesday. 


The group will meet quarterly with the SSD administration to provide input, discuss issues affecting the district and consider new initiatives, according to a SSD release. The Roundtable will focus its attention on instruction, policy, facilities and community relations.  


Couey said the Superintendent''s Roundtable isn''t necessarily a response to the education forum held last month at New Covenant Church, where parents discussed forming a new organization to keep closer tabs on SSD policies and activities, but is part of a concerted effort to better communicate with the public.  


The Roundtable group is made up of Anne Buffington, Jennifer Burgess, Ann Carr, Heather Carson, Carrie Copeland, Hugh Griffith, Katherine Hackett, Paul Luckett, Lynn Richardson, Jeffrey Rupp, Anne Stricklin and Cordell Wilson. Additional members could be named at a later time, Couey said.  


The group ranges from parents to community members to university officials.  


"We were just trying to be broad in our representation," Couey said. "We''ve got university folks, parents, people from the business community ... people who have an interest in public schools." 


Rupp, the former mayor of Columbus, has two children in the Starkville School District and says he has a "vested interest" in the city''s schools.  


"It''s a fairly diverse group when you look at it, so we''ll just try to provide some constructive feedback," Rupp said of the Superintendent''s Roundtable. "I''m sure we''ll not always see things the same way, but I think it''s good (Couey) wants to sit down and discuss what''s going on in the school district." 


It is unclear how the Superintendent''s Roundtable will affect plans the group of SSD parents discussed last month at New Covenant Church to form a new organization. News of the Superintendent''s Roundtable was still circulating Tuesday evening and parents who met at the forum still hadn''t discussed the SSD''s new group, said parent Anastasia Elder.  


"If this (Superintendent''s Roundtable) is in response to our forum, I think that''s great and I''m looking forward to having an arena where there can be open communication and a sharing of diverse ideas, and a listening to a lot of people''s perspectives," Elder said. 


Still, Elder said she would like to see a group that includes students working with the SSD.




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