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Mississippi Legislature Approves Sunflower School District Consolidation

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 10 Apr 2012 05:02pm | comments

Three school districts in Sunflower County could soon become one under a bill approved by the state legislature. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that a school district consolidation bill could soon be on its way to the Governor's desk.

The three districts in Sunflower County are all already under state control with two failing and one under performing.

The Mississippi House voted Tuesday to approve a bill to collapse those three districts into one.

Representative Omeria Scott of Laurel argued against the bill on the floor saying state control of the districts has made the schools worse.

"The Department of Education want to do something to help Drew? Want to do something to help Heidelberg? Want to do something to help Midnight And Sledge? Get out of their business. Get out of their business and let these people educate their children," Scott said.

Representative Toby Barker of Hattiesberg brought the bill to the floor and defended the consolidation as a fresh start for the struggling districts.

"You need good leadership and you need good community involvement. I think one is as important as the other two. I think by having an expanded tax base where you are actually able to draw more resources in without the top heaviness of administration. I think that provides more resources. I think by electing an entirely new board, none of which served on the previous boards, I think you provide better local leadership," Barker said.

Representatives voted 86-to-33 to approve the consolidation of the three districts.

The bill is being held on a procedural vote before it can be transmitted to Governor Phil Bryant for his consideration and possible signature into law.

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