OKOLONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's been several months since the state said it would return the city schools to local control, and some people in Okolona want to know why city officials are taking so long to choose new school board members.
Nathaniel Cunningham, Jr., the president of the East Chickasaw County Concerned Citizen Group, said city leaders are dragging their feet.
"You can't do anything without a school board. That's against state law," said Cunningham.
A law, city leaders said, they are not taking lightly.
"We are dealing in an area in unclearness of the law. This is so important as far as the makeup of the school board that it's been the judgment of the city to move slowly and cautiously before resuming the responsibilities," said Gene Barton, city attorney.
Leaders said they have submitted several concerns to the Mississippi Attorney General's Office regarding the appointment process. Mayor Louise Cole said while a lot of questions have been answered, there are still a couple of issues to iron out before finalizing anything.
"We are trying to get a final opinion from the attorney general's office, specifically regarding the two people from the county who will have to be appointed," said Cole.
Cole said they are being very strategic with the selection process and the delay has been in the best interests of the school district.
"There is a new state law that says if we are ever under conservatorship again our school system could be abolished, and we definitely want to avoid that at all cost," Cole said.
Initially, the five board members will be appointed. Then in March, an election will be held to elect the two county members.
Leaders are still trying to determine how long the board members will serve once they are appointed or elected.