- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

LUMBERTON, Miss. (AP) - The superintendent of public schools in Lumberton is questioning why her schools are being considering for consolidation when their academic achievements have been deemed successful.

The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/1TGURZZ ) Linda Smith, superintendent of Lumberton Public School District, is uncertain why state lawmakers have targeted her small district in Lamar County for consolidation.

The legislature is looking at abolishing the two-school, 585-student district in 2018 and transferring the district to the Lamar County School District and Poplarville School District.

Lawmakers have selected a number of school districts for consolidation this session.

Smith said in an email that her district is classified as a C district, which she said has been rated as “successful” by the legislature in the past. She said consolidations in the past were centered on under-performing districts.

She added that the school district was “surprised to be mentioned” for consolidation.

Under the proposed consolidation, Lumberton students would still attend their same schools, but district assets and liabilities would be transferred to Lamar County and Poplarville school districts.

As soon as practical after this July 1, the Senate bill calling for the consolidation seeks to get the state Board of Education to appoint an interim trustee to manage the transition for consolidation.

The interim trustee would be responsible for administration, management and operation of Lumberton Public School District until July 1, 2018.

The Lumberton Public School District received $3.2 million in state funding this year. Not all that would be eliminated if the district is consolidated, as Poplarville and Lamar County school districts would need money to service the additional Lumberton students they would receive.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com


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