The Mississippi Board of Education is asking Governor Phil Bryant to approve a takeover of the Tunica County School District. Education officials say the district is in violation of 22 state and federal accreditation standards.
After more than 6 hours of debate yesterday, the state Board of Education concurred with a previous decision by the state Commission on School Accreditation that an emergency condition exists within the Tunica County School District.
John Kelly is the President of the State Board of Education.
"It was the preponderance of the evidence," says Kelly, "It was just piled up. When you considered all of the standards and the preponderance of the evidence, we had no choice. The kids of that district were failed. Not only were they failed, they were failed in a huge way."
According to an MDE audit, Tunica Schools is currently in violation of 22 of 31 state and federal accreditation standards. The violations range from insufficiencies in the district's special education department to a reported rape on a high school campus that went unreported.
Officials with the Tunica Schools claim a majority of the district's violations were due to mismanagement by the district's former superintendent who resigned only last week.
Vance Siggers is a special consultant hired by the district to help fix some of the problems listed in the audit. He says what the district really need is just a bit more time.
"It's not the outcome that we were expecting," Siggers says. "We did put together a plan to get these actions corrected, but in the end of the day we have to respect the wishes of the board and what they advise."
The board recommendation to take over the district will now head to the Governor for his approval.