BOBBY HARRISON: Old laws, circumstances shadow policy debates

Laws still exist in Mississippi from the late 1950s giving the governor the authority to close any school, school district, community college or public university if the state’s chief executive determines it is best for the education of the children.

I should point out here that an astute fellow reporter, who apparently reads the Mississippi legal code for pleasure, recently pointed out the little-known law giving the governor vast authority over the state’s educational system.

My colleague and I discussed whether former Gov. Haley Barbour and his staff were aware of the law when he proposed unsuccessfully to the Legislature massive school district consolidation and university mergers during his second term.

Apparently, under the law, if the governor felt strongly enough about the local school district and university mergers, he could have acted unilaterally to solve the problems as he perceived them to be.

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