Consultants Recommend Merging 18 Mississippi School Districts

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Consultants say 18 Mississippi school districts could be improved by merging with higher performing districts, generally their neighbors.

The 18 have small enrollments. Many are in low-income areas and have higher than average per-pupil administrative costs. Several are in northern Mississippi and the Delta.

The 18 districts consultants identified for possible mergers with others are: Aberdeen, Benoit, Coahoma County, Coffeeville, Drew, East Jasper, Hazlehurst, Hollandale, Indianola, Jefferson Davis County, Kemper County, Montgomery County, North Panola, Okolona, Oktibbeha County, Quitman County, Shaw and West Tallahatchie.

Denver-based consultants presented their findings Monday to a school-consolidation commission appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour.

Mississippi has 149 districts and three agricultural high schools. Consultants also say the agriculture schools should be merged with neighboring districts.

Editor's note: The online version of this story is correct. The original Associated Press version, aired on WTOK's broadcast channel, left out a key word that made that version of the story incorrect. What was published by A.P. as 'Quitman' should have read 'Quitman County'.

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  • by Miss Location: DeKalb on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:10 PM
    I wish everyone would stop being silly and work together. Whoever had the nerve to say that whoever couldn't spell must come from the West side is a idiot. We all come from Kemper County. Scooba is no better than DeKalb. When it all boils down, the score at East and West Kemper all reflect on Kemper County. If the parents would work together and try to help the teachers instead of criticizing, things would get better. They are talking about bussing our children out of the county to some other school! This is not an option. As a parent, I want my child in Kemper County. Think about all of the money that our county will lose if we lose our school. Stop gripping. Let's get this test scores up. I wish we could keep East Kemper open, but in reality, we can't afford to. Also, let the state take over is NOT a "good" idea.
  • by Randa Location: Monticello, MS on Apr 27, 2010 at 08:39 PM
    They need to come down to Lawrence and merge Topeka Tilton with town schools. TTAC only has 300 or so students from head start to 8th grade. TTAC already comes up to town for high school so why not start it as a early grade? I think keeping that school running is a joke. It would save a lot of money if they did this. You wouldn't have to pay for an upkeep of an entire school. A principal's pay would be well as cutting teachers off, caf workers and so on. It's time to eliminate pointless jobs. And don't talk about over crowding. MANY inner city schools in New York are 40 plus a classroom and they blow our mississippi children away with their marks!
  • by Private Location: School on Apr 22, 2010 at 01:02 PM
    Send your kids to private schools. Problem solved!! That's what I did!!!
  • by AMEN Guy South of I-20 Location: MS on Apr 22, 2010 at 08:08 AM
    EXACTLY!!! They are not talking about moving students, they are trying to cut administrators and central office staff. Superintendents in this state make $90,000 and ABOVE so that is a big chunk right there.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 22, 2010 at 05:21 AM
    ENOUGH the system has failed this is a joke all over
  • by Teacher Location: in the area on Apr 21, 2010 at 08:44 AM
    I've read the comments about administrators, and while the comments may have some (or even much) validity, I cannot tell you how much additional paperwork has been foisted on teachers and principals from state and federal departments. I know several principals and assistant principals who arrive early and stay until 5:00 or 6:00 just trying to run the school AND stay up with the mountains of paperwork. I know of some admins who go to their schools on the weekends to work as well. I'm not taking a side here, I'm just telling you what I have observed personally.
  • by Guy South of I-20 on Apr 21, 2010 at 06:33 AM
    People... they're not talking about merging counties with other counties. They're talking about merging school districts in the SAME county. For example: East Jasper and West Jasper would be merged into one Jasper County district. Read comprehension: Learn some.
  • by Anonymous Location: kemper on Apr 21, 2010 at 06:17 AM
    I say why not merge with other school districts. East or West they are both failing. I'm all for it.
  • by Somebody Location: Scooba on Apr 20, 2010 at 07:40 PM
    Concerned is speaking about the consolidation of two elementary schools in Kemper County and a community committee that is fighting against the consolidation. See WTOK stories concerning East Kemper Elementary School. Kemper is between a rock and a hard place. They must show the state that they have the funds to operate next year. The board has propose to consoli-date the two elementary schools to increase revenue. If they do move forward with the consolidation it is a possibility that they state will take over. If the state take over they will do whatever it take to increase revenues. The board is planning to close the smaller school-enrollment 225; this school is under the state requirement of 250 students. It cost more to educate an student at this facility than it does at the other two schools. In addition, the committee consist of school employees. This committee is recommending that the district cut salaries; but employees in Kemper have not had a wage increase since 2005.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 20, 2010 at 02:16 PM
    Generally I think that all the counties in Mississippi should have a central county school district instead of merging with other counties or maintaining several school districts in one county. Also, I feel that if a city or town wants to maintain a school district for the children in their city or town limits, then that city or town should have a stable tax base and adequate support in order to do so. Doing so would fix some of the problems as far as lowering administrative costs. Also, there would be very little confusion as to which school district a child would be allowed to attend.
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