STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- The attorney for the Starkville School Board says U.S. Department of Justice approval is needed for future consolidation with the Oktibbeha County schools even though legislators approved the merger this year.
The Commercial Dispatch reports Dolton McAlpin told board members that DOJ approval will be needed as long as both districts are still under federal desegregation orders.
House Bill 716 is awaiting Gov. Phil Bryant's signature.
Under the bill, a merger report is due to the Legislature, governor and Mississippi Department of Education by March 1, 2014. The bill would require consolidation of the Starkville and Oktibbeha County school systems be done by July 1, 2015.
McAlpin says the school district should consider hiring an attorney with background on school desegregation issues.