The conservator of the LeFlore County School district says it will take years to repair the damage at the 'F' rated district. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports some lawmakers see the problems in the delta district as a reason to further consolidate more of the state's 151 districts.
Bob Strebeck took over the LeFlore County School District in October.
He tells the Senate Education Committee that he found dilapidated buildings with leaking roofs, a staff twice the size it needed to be, and educational deficiencies across all grades.
"We were not doing what we are supposed to do academically in our elementary schools and our Junior highs. And I will tell you this, I have high school students right now that cannot read. And they get to the high school, that is why you have all these kids that cannot pass a subject area test because they cannot read," Strebeck said.
Strebeck says of all the districts he has taken over, LeFlore is the worst, which came as a surprise to Senator David Jordan who is on the committee and also represents LeFlore County.
"Whenever you have got five or six schools coming under conservatorship and my district is the worst of all of them combined? That's serious. Very serious," Strebeck said.
The chairman of the Committee Gray Tollison of Oxford says the results out of LeFlore show that the state should be consolidating more districts.
Tollison has filed bills to consolidate the school districts of Greenwood and LeFlore County.
This is similar to other municipal and county consolidations that have occurred over the last two legislative session.
However, Tollison has also filed bills to consolidate multiple county wide school districts, such as Amite and Wilkinson or Kemper and Noxubee Counties, which would be a new step for the legislature.
"Those are small populations. They are two or three thousand. I think if you have a good leader you can certainly operate. And going back to communities holding each other accountable," Tollison said.
Tollison also said that the counties could then consolidation their schools, especially at the high school level, to focus resources.
However, consolidations, particularly of schools, often cause deep concern and resistance in the districts where they occur.