Supervisors discuss how to restructure community education programs
By Dwayne Bremer
Sep 19, 2017, 18:29
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors recently voted to opt out of a two-decade old contract which helps fund community education programs.
On Monday, it discussed how to restructure it.
Under the language in the contract, supervisors needed to give 90 days notice before opting out of the contract. The county will still be a part of the community education program until the end of the year, officials said.
Monday's move by the board closely mirrors its decision to opt of an agreement on the Hancock County Library System earlier this year.
Supervisors have since reached a new agreement for library services with Bay St. Louis and Waveland.
The Community Education Program began in 1996. Under the program, the Hancock County and Bay-Waveland school districts, and the board of supervisors each pledged about $10,000 a year towards the program.
The program has offered a number of classes and services over the years.
Previously, classes were offered at the Pearl River Community College Center in Waveland.
Most recently, the classes have been held at the Hancock High School Vo-Tech Center.
Last week, Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine told the Bay-Waveland School Board that he felt the program was a duplication.
"We see potential continuing education as something we have elsewhere with other entities," LaFontaine said.
One item of concern in the original contract was that a recommendation board be in place to oversee the programs and funding.
LaFontaine said the recommendation board has not been in place since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"Our goal is not to eliminate this service, but rather, to reorganize it and see what the best way to move forward is," LaFontaine said. "We wanted to see what programs are available, the attendance rates, and things like that."
The two school boards have provided some initial information to supervisors which will be discussed among the three entities soon, LaFontaine said.
"We are going to take a look at what is going on and see what the new advisory board has to say," he said. "We are just looking to talk about the specifics of the contract."
The county will remain a part of the program until the end of the project's year, officials said.
If the three entities cannot reach a new deal, the county would no longer contribute a third of the operating costs.