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Supervisors begin construction on school partnership with Friends of Children of Miss.
From Staff Reports
Work has begun on a project that will bring a new Head Start facility to serve children in the State Line area.
Dist. Two Supervisor Morris Hill thanked other supervisors on Tuesday for their assistance in hauling dirt to the site where supervisors plan to build an 8,000 square-foot facility on the old school property in State Line. Hill’s comments came during a regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Supervisors.
The new facility is being built as part of a partnership with Friends of Children of Mississippi, Inc. (FCM) to provide early childhood education and early childcare services to residents in the State Line area.
Supervisors agreed to the project in early July. Work on the building’s foundation began last week even though bids have not been sought on the metal building that would be erected and county leaders have not yet determined how they will fund the project.
Board members approved claims totalling nearly $48,000 on Monday to Herring Construction, of Petal, and Lankford Farm Dirt Pit, in State Line, for expenses related to the project thus far. Hill told fellow board members on Tuesday that he would cover those costs (up to $50,000) out of his road district funds, but that a plan needs to come together quickly for the remainder of the project.
Supervisors briefly discussed options for funding, including borrowing money on a short-term basis from the county’s hospital fund, but decided instead to allow county comptroller Tyson Moreno to research financing options prior to their next meeting, which is scheduled for this coming Monday.
FCM officials say that once completed, the facility will be used to provide services to 16 infants and toddlers as well as 37 three and four-year-olds, which are the numbers their current data says they could support in the community.
Supervisors have agreed to erect the building and handle the plumbing and electrical installations, with FCM being responsible for the finishing work, fixtures and furnishings. FCM will lease the finished facility from the county on a long-term contract and anticipates operating costs of around $532,000 in its first year in operation, with 60 percent of that number going toward salaries for teachers, teacher assistants and support personnel, such as custodians and drivers.
FCM operated two centers in the county until 2017 when the center in State Line closed due to what officials called the “deplorable condition” of the modular units located on leased property just outside of town. Attempts have since been made to operate a center in a different location in State Line, but those efforts have not been sustainable.
No timeline was available for the construction process or any indication given as to when FCM plans to begin offering services in the facility.