Mississippi's governor and the Mayor of Jackson are joining forces to turnaround the state's second largest school district.
Governor Phil Bryant says he will not takeover the Jackson Public School system, instead forming a commission to move the district forward. The Mississippi Board of Education had declared the district is in a state of emergency. Now, with the help of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the governor is creating a 15-member Education Excellence Advisory Commission. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.
"This solution offers an opportunity for the community to be engaged in this process, as we identify what we want to see out of our Jackson Public School District," said Lumumba.
The governor, the foundation and the mayor will each select five members of the new commission. Also coming on board is the Education Commission of the States and the Mississippi Economic Council. The commission will include national and local education experts who will order an outside evaluation of the district's educational environment. They will have listening sessions in the community and develop a plan to guide the school district forward. Joyce Helmick is with the Mississippi Association of Educators. She supports a collaborative approach.
"It's not going to be hopefully, top-down. It's going to be bottom-up. So that the educators, the students have input. The parent's have the input, so that they build on what they say," said Helmick.
Jackson's mayor says the entire city school board has resigned. New members will be appointed. State School Superintendent Carey Wright says in a statement she stands behind her department's finding. She said, as of today, the Mississippi Department of Education hasn't been asked to take part in the coalition.