Two school districts are looking to merge after the legislature signed a bill into law abolishing the Lumberton School District.
“The Lumberton school district will cease to exist on June 30, 2018,” said Dr. Linda Smith, Superintendent of the Lumberton Public School District.
The change leaves some people wondering what the future of the school will look like.
“The Lumberton school, Pre-K through 12th grade will remain here in Lumberton,” said Linda Smith. “The teachers who are here that are re-employed by Lamar County School District will be here, the students who are in school here now will continue to be in school here and they will just be under the Lamar County school board.”
Smith said they hope the merge will be something positive for the children and the community as a whole.
“The purpose is what is best for the children, the community, the faculty and the staff,” said Linda Smith. “Ultimately a school is the hub of activity for any community and Lumberton needs the school to remain here.”
Smith said through the process of the merge they have tried to create a guideline for other schools.
“This is the first voluntary consolidation of which we are aware, so we are trying to do it in such a way that it can be a model for others down the road, should the legislature continue to desire to see fewer school districts in the state of Mississippi,” said Linda Smith.
The Lamar County School District will absorb the Lumberton School district beginning in July of 2018-2019 school year.
“At this point, we are just transitioning as best we can,” said Tess Smith Superintendent of Education at the Lamar County School District. “We are having to look at everything from board lines for representation for when we take in Lumberton, we are already working with them and the special services, child nutrition, technology, several departments where we are starting to blend.”
Tess Smith continued:
“We didn’t realize until we got into it, that this is the first time that it has occurred in the state of Mississippi, a voluntary consolidation of this nature,” said Tess Smith. “What is interesting is that we began to ask questions and because it has not occurred before, people don’t have answers for us so they are trying to help us establish guidelines as we go through this process so that the information can be used in the future.”
The state board of education has approved the merge and the Deputy State Superintendent is said to be in the process of writing a report to send to the Legislature and the Governor.