Over the years, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors has remained a prolific supporter of the City of Petal and the Petal School District, whether it be for sports, parks, community centers or other matters.
That continued at the Oct. 8 Petal Panthers football game, when District 3 Supervisor Burkett Ross – whose district consists of Petal – presented school district superintendent Matt Dillon with a $20,000 check for the Petal Booster Club. The supervisors also made donations to schools in Hattiesburg and Forrest County.
“We wanted to try to enhance the athletic program this year; in my tenure, that’s the most we’ve ever given,” Ross said. “We were happy to be able to do that.
“I try to help the school district any way I can, and I’ve given them some money each year, but this year we decided we were going to do a little better by all the schools. They’re all bouncing back from COVID and all the stress they’ve had over the last year, so we all got together and decided this is what we were going to do.”
The Petal Booster Club supplements the school district’s efforts to fund and support its athletic programs.
“They support the athletic program in every way; I’m sure they’re raising part of the money to put the new turf on the football field (at Petal High School),” Ross said. “The school raises a lot of money, but the booster club does a lot of other things, and they support the coaches in every way.
“The new football coach, whatever he needs, the booster club tries to help him do with all kinds of different things. Over the years, the school can’t pay for everything they need, and so we were just happy to be able to help out with the programs – whether it’s basketball, baseball, football, track, softball. That money will be used for all those different programs, I’m sure.”
The board of supervisors did not specify exactly what the funds could be used for in the booster club. Therefore, club officials will be able to use the monies at their discretion for whatever measures are needed.
“We feel like they will make good decisions and use whatever is on hand for what they need,” Ross said. “I’m sure that they’ll use them to the best of their ability.”
Ross also has made donations to endeavors such as showchoir and band.
“I try to help them all,” he said. “I look at this way: the school is the biggest asset we have in District 3 and in Petal.
“I feel like that’s our biggest assets, and there’s 4,200 good reasons to help the school, because that’s how many students they’ve got. This was a county-wide thing; most of the time we get it out of recreation (funds), but this year we decided just to give it out of the general fund.”
Dillon said the school district is fortunate to have supervisors like Ross – and all the other members of the board – who give support year after year.
“They’ve been very helpful to our district any time I’ve had any requests,” he said. “This is just a great way for them to give back to all of the athletic programs here in our district.
“So we’re very thankful and blessed to have this donation. We appreciate their ongoing support for the Petal School District and our athletic programs.”