Monday, September 30, 2013
On Friday, the Mississippi Board of Education was told that it must takeover any school next year that receives a third consecutive "F" on its state academic report card. Under Mississippi's 2010 "New Start School" law (MS Stat. § 37-167-1), schools that fail to get a "C" or above in their third probationary year must go into conservatorship. The Board member in charge of conservatorships, Larry Drawdy, estimated that the Board may have to take control of 30 schools next fall, which means terminating schools' entire staff--from principals to custodians. Drawdy called the law "wrongheaded" and warned that it may be impossible to takeover that many schools at once. Board members also expressed dismay about the mandatory dismissals of non-program staff. Under the New Start School law, the schools will be placed under the administration of the Mississippi Recovery School District. A new superintendent can then either rehire school staff or start fresh. The State Board of Education is also seeking to take over the Claiborne County and Leflore County school districts this month. The Board controls six school districts in the state. Fifty schools got failing grades this year for a second year; 92 schools in Mississippi currently have "F" ratings. Mississippi has 151 school districts.