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Judge Says No Dice to Leflore County Schools, Takeover Imminent

GREENWOOD, Miss.–The state will now take over Leflore County Schools despite a court order that kept the Dept. of Education’s hands tied last month. The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hinds County Judge Winston Kidd’s temporary injunction against the state and Gov. Bryant’s order to take over the district was illegal.

The ruling will likely mean that no other districts can successfully challenge a state takeover through local courts.

“We will move forward with our original plan of placing a conservator in the district and we will work to make decisions in the best interest of children,” said Dept. of Ed spokesperson Patrice Guilfoyle in a statement Thursday.

That could happen as early as Monday.

When the state takes over a district, that means the superintendent and the school board get the boot and a conservator is put in charge. This time it’s Robert Strebeck, and he’ll make $183,000 per year while he and the state try to fix the 22 violations that got the district in trouble.

Strebeck has been a conservator before. In 2012 he was appointed to oversee the Aberdeen district when it was taken over. The “Columbus Packet” published this quote from Strebeck when he met with concerned parents, “There’s no more board meetings. There will be an agenda and I will sign it. And when I sign it, I just had a board meeting.”

The Supreme Court cited separation of powers in its ruling and said that even though the district said it had the right to appeal, that was not the case and the local court in Hinds County had no right to usurp an executive order from the governor.

 

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