13 districts seek to meet state standards

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Thirteen Mississippi school districts are working to avoid losing accreditation.

Paula Vanderford, of the state Department of Education, said loss of accreditation would mean the districts would not be allowed to participate in post-season activities sanctioned by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, Those activities include high school playoff games.

The Clarion Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/vXj35l ) that the problems the recently downgraded districts are trying to correct include school boards failing to give their superintendent full authority, improper record keeping and not meeting standards for safe and clean facilities.

The districts on probation include Booneville, Drew, Indianola, Jackson, Moss Point and Okolona and the county districts of Hazlehurst, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Kemper, North Panola, Sunflower and Tate.

A downgrade in accreditation does not mean a district is not academically sound.

Booneville, a high performing district, has a probation status because in 2010-11, the district had 179 days of instruction, just shy of the required 180 days. The district will be on probation for a year, Vanderford said, because the district has to have 180 days of instruction this school year to be in compliance.

The issue for Hinds County schools dealt with accounting, said Earl Burke, the district’s chief financial officer. In the 2005-06 school year, the district switched to a new accounting system and some of the information was not properly transferred, Burke said. Three school buildings didn’t make it into the accounting record, he said. The matter will be worked out in the district’s fiscal 2010 report, he said.