The Mississippi State Board of Education determined last week that an extreme emergency situation exists in the Noxubee County School District (NCSD). The board acted on a recommendation from the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation and voted to ask Governor Phil Bryant to declare a state of emergency for the school district.
The Mississippi Department of Education said in a news release that the Noxubee County School District has significant issues that jeopardize the safety, security and educational interests of the children enrolled in its schools.
An investigative audit of the school district found them to be in violation of 26 of the 32 accreditation standards that all Mississippi public school districts are required to meet. MDE conducted the audit after the district reported severe financial issues because historically, districts that have faced serious financial issues have also had numerous accreditation violations.
“State law requires the Board to intervene in a school district when there is a crisis that jeopardizes the safety, security and educational interests of the students in a district,” said Rosemary Aultman, the SBE chair. “Every student in the Noxubee County School District has the right to a quality education that will equip them for the future.”
A state of emergency would make NCSD a District of Transformation, which would result in the following:
- The district’s accreditation could be withdrawn
- The SBE would appoint an interim superintendent
- The local school board would be temporarily disbanded
- The SBE would become the governing body until the district is returned to local board leadership
- An interim superintendent would remain in NCSD until the district has sustained a grade of C or higher for five years.
- An interim superintendent would work with district staff to correct all accreditation violations while making raising student achievement the primary focus
If the governor agrees with the SBE, officials from the MDE will meet with the administration, faculty, and staff of NCSD after the declaration, followed by evening meetings with parents and community leaders.