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State to consider returning Haz. City School Dist. to local control

Hazlehurst City School District, which has been under state conservatorship since 2008, might be returned to local control, according to a statement sent to the Courier by the Miss. Department of Education, today.

A portion of the statement says,

“The State Board of Education, Representative Gregory Holloway and members of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) staff continue to work closely with the Hazlehurst City School District to correct impairments which led to the district being placed in conservatorship.

The MDE Office of Accreditation will conduct a follow up audit in August 2012 to determine whether the district has made substantial improvements in terms of meeting state accreditation standards.  If it is determined that impairments have been substantially corrected, the State Board of Education will then begin the process of returning the district to the community.”

The state took control of the district 4 years ago this month because the district failed 37 of 38 markers that included finances, student learning and achievement and personnel issues.  At the time, the district faced a nearly $2 million budget deficit.  Dozens of staff and administrative positions were cut immediately.  The school board was dissolved by MDE.

Since then, the budget deficit has been corrected and personnel positions have slowly been filled as needed.  At least 4 different conservators have been appointed to lead the district at one time or another, as well.

If or when the state does turn the district back over to local control, the city would appoint three board members and two others would be filled through elections.

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