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Scott County Residents Waiting For Gov to Decide Schools Fate

By Paul Boger | Published 11 Feb 2014 08:30am | comments
Residents of Scott County are waiting on Governor Phil Bryant to decide whether or not to place all schools in the district under state control. MPB's Paul Boger reports safety concerns and allegations of mismanagement have left residents wanting change.
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The Mississippi Board of Education has recommended that the Scott County School District be placed under state control after a surprise audit found the district to be in violation of state and federal regulations.  
 
Among the findings, were allegations of an alleged child abuse case that was never reported to state officials, handicapped children being strapped into the buses with ropes, and unqualified people holding administrative positions and uncertified security guards carrying loaded weapons onto school grounds.
 
Scott County Superintendent Bingham Montcrief told the state board of education that he was working on fixing those problems.
 
"The audit makes it clear that there are deficiencies and we will not ignore the procedural and safety concerns presented by this audit." said Montcrief. "After receiving the audit finding my staff and I immediately started finding and correcting deficiencies noted."
 
However, the report also found that Montcrief to be notorious for controlling the district through intimidation. A problem that had grown so bad, members of the board felt that they had no other choice but to ask the state to take over the district. 
 
Carl Dove is the Vice President of the board. He says it has been impossible to work with Montcrief.
 
"We got a Superintendent that really donesn't want to work with us." said Dove. "He wants to tell you half-truths, half-things, don't tell you all of the information, bring people not qualified and once you vote for them not to get the job he still gives them the job anyway. That's where we're at. It's a battle every time we go to a meeting."
 
Jeff White has two kids in Scott County schools, he says he wants the state to take over his children's school.
 
"I think it's a very good idea, because there are non-qualified teachers." said White. "So how are you going to have qualified students graduate into the job world? It's a failing system."
 
A spokesperson for Governor Phil Bryant says he is reviewing all of the documents related to the school take over and could make a decision sometime this week. If that happens Scott County Schools would become the tenth district to be run by a state conservator.

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