- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Clarksdale and Coahoma County could be the next school districts forced to merge by the Legislature.

The House Education Committee Friday passed House Bill 78, requiring the districts to merge in 2016.

Lawmakers have mandated other consolidations over the last two years, including districts in Bolivar, Clay and Oktibbeha counties. None of those districts has merged yet.

Those who favor mergers say too many of Mississippi’s 151 districts are small and spend too much money on administration.

The Coahoma County district had 1,500 students last year, while the Clarksdale district had 3,200. The state is closing the Coahoma County Agricultural High School after this year and transferring its 230 students to the county.

The bill would let Clarksdale’s mayor appoint three school board members and Coahoma County supervisors appoint two.

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