TEACHER PAY RAISE
House seeks talks with Senate on teacher pay plan
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - House and Senate negotiators will meet to discuss differences in their pay raise proposals for Mississippi public school teachers.
The move comes after the House rejected a Democratic attempt to agree to the Senate's pay raise proposal by a 71-50 vote Wednesday.
Democrats argued that the House should accept the Senate plan because there's a chance that House Bill 504 would fail if the House agreed to confer.
House Speaker Philip Gunn says that the Senate's plan, which calls for extra money to be awarded to teachers in improving or high-performing schools, is unconstitutional because it gives bonus payments not covered by contract to public employees for work they've already done.
Republican House leaders also says they won't seek requirements they proposed for teachers to collect the full amount.
Biloxi considers tweaking tax incentives
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Just how much incentive the city of Biloxi should give businesses investing along the beach, in the downtown and along Mississippi 67 was considered during a city council workshop on Tuesday.
Thirteen properties have received up to 100 percent forgiveness of ad valorem taxes for up to 7 years through the post-Katrina hospitality commercial incentive.
Jerry Creel, Biloxi's community development director, said business owners build the tax incentive into their financing package. He says the amount of the tax abatements is covered by increased sales tax.
The Sun Herald reports Creel suggested the council consider the number of jobs a new business will create when determining the amount of incentive, and more importantly, the sales tax that will be generated.
Gautier residents oppose limit on pets
GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) - Gautier residents who attended a meeting Tuesday overwhelmingly opposed a five-animal limit in the city's proposed animal control ordinance.
During a public discussion at Gautier City Hall, The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1cPOEZl) many of the 60 residents in attendance voiced their concern for the proposed change, which states that each person in a household may have only five dogs or cats.
The new ordinance has been in the works for about a year. Although it was never in the city's plan to adopt the changes, resident concern has prompted the need for revisions.
The city council will determine the need for revisions and another public hearing before moving forward with a vote.
Web-based program advances science, math skills
HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi has announced expansion of a partnership that brings Web-based, interactive science, technology, engineering and math education to local schools.
EverFi, an education-technology company, will provide STEM education first to Byhalia Middle School, where officials gathered for the announcement recently. Discussions already have begun to get the education program in DeSoto County Schools.
The Commercial Appeal reports the course will be available to area students through the Community Foundation's Mississippi Digital Scholars program. The Foundation noted that while the state is projected to create nearly 50,000 new STEM-related jobs in the next five years, only 57 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or advanced on the state science test.
Supervisors split on hospital negotiator
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The firm initially hired to help sell Natchez Regional Medical Center has now been hired on to help the county-owned hospital negotiate bankruptcy.
The Natchez Democrat reports the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to hire Healthcare Management Partners to serve as the hospital's financial adviser as NRMC files for bankruptcy.
Supervisors President Darryl Grennell says the recommendation to hire HMP came at the unanimous suggestion of the hospital's board of trustees.
HMP already has an existing contractual relationship with the county and the hospital, having been hired in July to market the hospital.
HMP chief executive officer Scott Phillips said the vote Tuesday did not mean HMP's role in selling the hospital would change. Instead, it adds new, separate duties.
Northeast announces new internship program
BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Northeast Mississippi Community College has a partnership with Toyota in Blue Springs.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1g86VeK) the TIGER Internship Program will combine three days of classroom instruction with two days of on-site work experience at an area manufacturing facility for $14 an hour.
The school says the program will benefit Northeast students with an interest in a career in manufacturing, as well as area industries, such as Toyota, Toyota suppliers and other manufacturers in the college's five-county district.
Classes will be offered on Northeast's Booneville campus in subjects including electricity, fluid power, mechanics, fabrication and robotics. Upon completion, students will graduate with an associate's degree as well as work experience.
Gillentine pleads not guilty to DUI death
TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - John Gillentine has pleaded not guilty to a DUI death charge in Lee County Circuit Court.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports the 27-year-old Tupelo man was arraigned last Tuesday on the charges stemming from an Aug. 2 accident in which police say the vehicle he was driving struck and killed Betty Montgomery.
Gillentine's bond, which was reduced from $300,000 to $50,000 under the condition he entered a rehabilitation facility for no less than 30 days, carried over from his original appearance in Lee County Justice Court.
The circuit court arraignment came after Gillentine was indicted by a previous Lee County Grand Jury.
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