For Immediate Release: July 19, 2013
Mississippi Board of Education Takes First Step to Reconstitute North Panola School District
JACKSON, Miss. –The Mississippi Board of Education voted Friday to begin the process to reconstitute the North Panola School District, which essentially returns the district back to the community.
North Panola was one of three school districts the Board voted to begin the process of exiting from conservatorship and returning them to their communities. The other two were Tate County School District and Hazlehurst City School District.
“Overall, conservators have done a good job of getting these districts back on track,” said Dr. Larry Drawdy, interim deputy state superintendent of education.
In April 2008, the Board of Education voted to ask former Gov. Haley Barbour to declare a state of emergency in the North Panola School District. The district faced many issues that jeopardized the safety, security and educational interests of the students enrolled in the schools. Most notably, the problems included serious leadership, management and instructional concerns and violations of accreditation, board policy and state law.
“Once these impairments have been substantially corrected, the state can begin the process to return the district back to the community,” Drawdy said.
Currently, the district met academic growth and increased the graduation rate in the 2011-12 school year and moved from an “F” rating to a “D” rating.
State Rep. Lataisha Jackson, D-Como, said she applauds the leadership and collaborative efforts of the district that made this reconstitution process possible.
“I look forward to local elections, and the community and leaders understanding the importance of quality district leadership to continue and build upon the strides that have been made,” she said.
With the Board’s vote, a request will now be made to the Governor’s Office to issue a proclamation that the North Panola School District is no longer in an emergency situation. As part of the transition, the governor will call a special election for school board members and set the date for the election, which is conducted by the county election commission.
Conservator Robert King will remain in full charge of the district operations until an appointed superintendent takes office. Local operation with a school board and superintendent is scheduled to be completed on or before July 1, 2014. A tentative timeline can be found here.