Lawmakers are contemplating a set of bills that would consolidate ten school districts around the state. School leaders say the consolidation is unnecessary.
Within the next year, the number of school districts in Mississippi could shrink from 144 to 134. The Senate Education Committee has approved a number of bills calling for the consolidation of 10 districts.
The measures are aimed at school districts with low or shrinking student populations and small tax bases.
Two of the districts facing consolidation is Durant and Holmes County. Durant is a municipal district with only one school and about 500 students. But Durant Superintendent Edwin Robinson says the consolidation is unneeded.
“We haven’t been duplicative in our spending,” says Robinson. “We haven’t been wasteful. We’ve done better with our students. Our student achievement has outpaced theirs forever. Many of our parents have expressed concern about their children having to be bused to Lexington as opposed to being able to walk to school in Durant.”
Officials with Holmes County are not thrilled about the consolidation either. If consolidation does take place, Holmes Superintendent Angel Meeks says there are going to be a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration.
“You look at the debt each districts owes, you look at the income, you look at the tax base and all of our classes are full,” Meeks says. “Neither District is in support of consolidation.”
Other districts facing consolidation include Houston, Okolona and Chickasaw County districts, Carroll County, Montgomery County and Winona districts and the elimination of the Lumberton and Coahoma Agricultural High School Districts.