Proposed House bill would join school districts 1/31/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2014

Proposed House bill would join school districts

By Rupert Howell
A House bill written by Representative Brad Mayo of Oxford calls for the consolidation of several school districts including North and South Panola.

Lawmakers are being asked to consider administrative school consolidations in several counties.

Representative Gray Tollison, also of Oxford, has also introduced consolidation bills although his do not include consolidations in Panola County.

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Mayo’s  bill,  currently in the House Education and Appropriations Committee, along with several others including Tollison’s, does not call for the closures of any of the districts’ schools but would transfer assets and administration under a unified county school district. Some of the bills call for consolidation across county lines in smaller school districts.

The proposed legislation affecting Panola County calls for the State Board of Education before September 1, 2014, to serve the county’s two school boards with notice and instructions regarding the timetable for action.

Under the proposed legislation, there would be a new county board of education elected in a November 2015 special election the new county board members would be elected.
It would be the responsibility of the board of supervisors to apportion the county-wide school district into five new single member board of education districts which would be the same as the supervisors district lines.

A superintendent serving in the former school districts would be eligible for appointment in the Panola County School District, unless that district has a rating grade of “D” or “F.” In that case the superintendent of the former school district would not be eligible for appointment as the new superintendent.

North Panola’s most recent rating was “D” and South Panola’s was “C.” North Panola has just had a new board of trustees put into place following five years of conservatorship and South Panola’s superintendent is currently in his first year in that position.

Other consolidation bills also call for consolidation of the Okolona Separate School District and Chickasaw County School District into Chickasaw County School District; Amory School District and Aberdeen School District would be reorganized into the Amory-Aberdeen Consolidated School District; Winona Separate School District and Montgomery County School District would merge into the Winona-Montgomery School District.

Also under the proposed legislation Water Valley School District and Coffeeville School District would become Yalobusha County School District.