Oktibbeha County schools may face state takeover

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – The Commission on School Accreditation will meet this morning to consider whether to begin the process to place the Oktibbeha County School District under state conservatorship.
Late Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Education announced that the commission would meet “to determine if an extreme emergency situation exists that jeopardizes the safety, security and educational interests of the children enrolled in the Oktibbeha County School District.”
Based on the potential findings of the Commission on School Accreditation, the state Board of Education has a tentative meeting scheduled for this afternoon to take up the issue of the Oktibbeha County School District.
The normal process is if the commission finds the need for a state of emergency, the issue is then considered by the state board. Ultimately, if both boards find that a declaration of a state of emergency is merited, the governor calls one and the state Board of Education names a conservator to run the district. The current local governance of the district would be removed.
Currently, seven Mississippi school districts are under conservatorship, including Okolona and Aberdeen in Northeast Mississippi. The process of returning the Okolona School District to local control is under way.
Oktibbeha received a D, or academic watch, according to the latest accreditation rankings that were released earlier this month.
Districts have 37 accreditation standards they are supposed to meet. They cover such areas as academic performance, student safety and finances.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com