- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi House has voted to consolidate the Holmes County and Durant school districts.

Representatives passed House Bill 926 (http://bit.ly/1ONknWH ) on Tuesday. The bill passed 75-46 mostly along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.

It was held for the possibility of more debate before it can go to the Senate.

Republican Rep. Toby Barker of Hattiesburg says the proposed merger would increase efficiency by reducing administrative costs. The bill also would require a superintendent to be appointed rather than elected, and Barker says that would open the job to a wider pool of candidates.

Democratic Rep. Bryant Clark of Pickens opposes the merger, which would affect people in his House district. He says many local residents want to keep two school districts.

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