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Faculty at the nation's only predominately African-American boarding school have taken an across the board 2% pay cut to help the school maintain its mission and program in the face shrinking giving and budget cuts. School president Reginald Nichols has taken a 5% pay cut.  We advocated this measure over layoffs in a post on our school marketing blog last week.

While faculty pay cuts help maintain curriculum and programs, these pay cuts alone cannot bring the school's revenues and expenditures into balance. Piney Woods still had to lay-off 20 of the school's 105 employees from support and ancillary positions.

In the face of tight annual fund giving, Piney Woods continues soliciting donors and is working to raise $11 million over the next two years as part of a capital campaign.

Piney Woods is near and dear to our hearts here in Mississippi; we've had friends and colleagues who teach and coach at the school. Here's Baltimore's Ty'nae Pinkney's- a 17 year old senior and aspiring lawyer- exchange with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger (The Clarion-Ledger article also includes a brief history of Piney-Woods.):

"Where I live, there is a lot of violence, a lot of bad influences," Pinkney says. "This is a peaceful place where I can grow, not only in the classroom but outside it."

Like all seniors are required to do, Pinkney is serving at least 450 hours of community service through AmeriCorps. Piney Woods is the only high school in the country to offer an AmeriCorps program.

She helps tutor elementary students in Bridgeport, Conn., via a weekly video conference over the Internet. She assists an after-school program for students in Mendenhall (MS).

Says Pinkney: "Dr. Nichols is always telling us, 'If you can't be a star, then be a little tree on the side of the road. But whatever you can be, be the best you can be.' "

Piney Woods gives like few other schools. Visit the school's web site to learn more: http://www.pineywoods.org/

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