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Education Department critical of school board meetings

CARRIERE — The Pearl River County School Board has acknowledged criticism from the state Department of Education that it had frequently violated the Open Meetings Law.

The state report was presented to the board March 10. Board members began this week working on a response.

The Picayune Item reports that the audit, which was ordered by state Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham, alleged the board used executive sessions too frequently and did not clearly stating the reasons why it was entering executive session.

Board members this week they will move to follow the state’s open meetings law as closely as possible.

Schools superintendent Dennis E. Penton said problems found by the state are being corrected.

The audit also found the school board had inserted itself into administrative areas reserved for Penton and had interfered in personnel matters.

Board attorney Jim Keith saidthe issues between the state and the school administration and board will remain open between the parties until they are rectified.

The audit also found in some cases that the board recorded decisions but did not record the vote of members and gave no reasons for making the decisions, thus not providing enough detail in the minutes.

Source: The Associated Press

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