Thursday, February 11, 2016
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The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

Conservator hits the ground running

It’s not business as usual for Tunica County schools.

Since taking charge of the local public school district on July 13, conservator Dr. Margie Pulley has acted quickly to turn around the faltering district.

Calling the task “a huge challenge” in an update last week at the Tunica Rotary Club, Dr. Pulley is acting as both superintendent and school board, after the State of Mississippi took over the district and its five schools last summer.

Dr. Pulley said her immediate task was to prepare for the opening of school in August. She had faculty and administrative positions to fill, but now, over two months into the year, there are no vacancies and teachers are in the classrooms, teaching in their fields, Pulley said. This week, the first evaluations – nine weeks tests – are underway, and those leading the district will soon know how students are progressing.

Dr. Pulley already knows where her teachers are in the process, since she has administered the first assessments. These assessments revealed whether teachers are actually teaching the curriculum and following pacing guides. Then she and her district level staff will be able to make data-driven decisions, she said.

“I’m pleased in some areas,” Dr. Pulley said. “I anticipate a difference in the scores.”

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Harassment cited in SO shake-up

A shake-up in the Tunica County Sheriff’s Department has been the subject of much speculation, but few facts have emerged since.

Late last week, Memphis television news began reporting that Commander Eugene Bridges, former head of the department’s Internal Affairs Division, had been fired. Sexual harassment of a female deputy was alleged, and the department released a statement on September 23.

“Tunica County Sheriff’s Office does not condone any activities concerning sexual harassment nor workplace harassment. Tunica County Sheriff’s Office has a policy on harassment that is strictly enforced. Also, mandatory sexual harassment and workplace harassment in-service training has been provided to every member of the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office. When a complaint is made, an investigation becomes active. Tunica County Sheriff’s Office will not confirm or deny any information because of an active investigation. Several employees are being investigated at this time,” the full statement reads.

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Hollywood appeals 2016 county tax levy

As supervisors began the process of adopting a 2016 budget and tax levy, Hollywood Casino filed a new suit against Tunica County.

On September 10, parent company HWCC-Tunica, LLC filed Cause No. 2015-0103, Bill of Exceptions/Notice of Appeal to “the actions of the Board of Supervisors of Tunica County, Mississippi” in adopting a 2016 fiscal year tax rate on September.

The primary basis of the appeal is that the 2016 levy is based on on a 2015 millage increase, a matter that is still pending in the courts.

“For the reasons set forth in Hollywood’s appeal of the Board’s 2015 fiscal year budget and millage increase, being cause number 2014-0162-CEW, the Board’s 2015 fiscal year millage increase for General County (being 9.14 mills to 15 mills) and for County Road Construction and Maintenance (being 0 mills to 9 mills) is illegal and void...for the Board to use the 2015 fiscal year millage increase as the base for the 2016 fiscal year tax rate is improper.”

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Preserving our past

The 2015 Bankhead Highway Convoy passed through the town of Tunica Tuesday, en route to Helena, AR and its ultimate destination, San Diego, CA.

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