JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Disregarding claims that local officials can resolve a financial crisis without state intervention, Mississippi's state Board of Education wants Gov. Phil Bryant to approve a state takeover of a rural school district.
Board members voted on Thursday to ask Bryant to declare a state of emergency in the Noxubee County district. That would remove the current superintendent and abolish the school board, allowing the Mississippi Department of Education to appoint an interim superintendent.
The Noxubee County school district requested an emergency state loan in June. Thursday, the local board president withdrew that request, saying the district would cut employees to balance its budget.
State school board members say they don't believe the 1,600-student district can manage financial problems. They also say a report found too many other problems.
MORE: See the full report here
“State law requires the Board to intervene in a school district when there is a crisis that jeopardizes the safety, security and educational interests of the students in district,” said Rosemary Aultman, the SBE chair. “Every student in the Noxubee County School District has the right to a quality education that will equip them for the future.”
A state of emergency would make NCSD a District of Transformation, which would result in the following:
- The district’s accreditation could be withdrawn
- The SBE would appoint an interim superintendent
- The local school board would be temporarily disbanded
- The SBE would become the governing body until the district is returned to local board leadership
- An interim superintendent would remain in NCSD until the district has sustained a grade of C or higher for five years.
- An interim superintendent would work with district staff to correct all accreditation violations, while making raising student achievement the primary focus
If the governor agrees with the SBE, officials from the MDE will meet with the administration, faculty and staff of NCSD after the declaration, followed by evening meetings with parents and community leaders.