Barbour, Patterson tout benefits of consolidating school districts

By The Daily Journal

JACKSON – Both Gov. Haley Barbour and the chairman of a commission he formed to study school district consolidation say the effort will not only save money but improve education.

“From the reading I have done … there is an enormous opportunity not just for financial savings … but a great opportunity to find the optimum structure to enhance the quality of our schools,” said Tupelo banker Aubrey Patterson, who was tabbed by Barbour to lead his Commission on Mississippi Education Structure.

At its first meeting Monday, Barbour told the group that when he became governor in 2004 “it was clear to me having 152 school districts in a state our size did not make any sense.”

Barbour has proposed merging the 152 school districts into 100 for the 2011-12 school year, but said the commission is not bound by his suggestions.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s edition of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.