A task force formed by the Legislature to improve underperforming schools has decided to take on the touchy subject of school district consolidation.
During a recent hearing of the task force, the story was told of an agency in the 1980s that had advocated Mississippi’s 152 school districts be consolidated into 82, basically along county lines. The task force was told, perhaps jokingly, that the agency was eliminated by the Legislature the next session.
Senate Education Chair Videt Carmichael, R-Meridian, the co-chair of the task force, responded, also perhaps jokingly, “I think I might disappear if consolidation happened in some of my school districts.”
For years, an array of groups has touted the virtue of school consolidation as a way to save money and increase efficiency in the public schools. The only problem has been finding agreement on how to do it.
“It’s been my observation everybody wants to consolidate everybody else’s district, but not their own,” said House Education Committee Chair Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, the other co-chair of the task force.