Senate votes to merge 3 Sunflower school districts

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi Senate has voted to merge the three school districts in Sunflower County into a single district.

Senate Bill 2330 moves to the House for further consideration.

It would require a new school board and an appointed superintendent.

Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison said Wednesday the consolidation would save local taxpayers $1.2 million a year in administrative costs.

Sunflower County is in the heart of the Delta, one of the poorest parts of the state. Its three school districts — Sunflower County, Indianola and Drew — are all under state conservatorship for a variety of reasons.

Mississippi has 82 counties and 152 school districts. Consolidation has been discussed for years, but there’s been little political will to force mergers in areas where high-performing districts are near lower-performing ones.