Governor signs emergency declaration for Hazlehurst schools

Governor Haley Barbour declared last Tuesday a state of emergency exists in the Hazlehurst City School District, authorizing the state Department of Education to take immediate corrective action.

“After reviewing documentation provided by the state Department of Education, I am convinced that existing conditions in the Hazlehurst City School District jeopardize the educational interests of the children enrolled there,” Governor Barbour said.  “My declaration of an emergency will authorize the Department to take immediate steps so the District can begin to recover from serious leadership and management deficiencies.”

The Governor’s proclamation is in response to a resolution adopted by the Mississippi Board of Education at its May 16, 2008 meeting, requesting a State of Emergency be declared pursuant to Section 37-17-6(11)(b) of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended.

The Mississippi Board of Education found that there is sufficient cause to believe that an extreme emergency situation exists in the Hazlehurst City School District brought on by serious leadership, management, and instructional concerns existing in the District and by serious violations of accreditation standards, Board policy, and state law, which puts the school children in an unstable and inadequate environment, denying the students the opportunity to learn, excel and obtain a free and appropriate public education.

Joe Haynes has been named temporary conservator. A permanent conservator will be named to take over July 1.

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