Judge halts district takeover

A Hinds County judge granted Leflore County school officials a temporary restraining order to stop the state from taking over the district. Meanwhile, the Claiborne County school district is asking another judge to block a takeover there.

Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd signed the order Monday, the same day Gov. Phil Bryant declared emergencies in the Leflore and Claiborne districts. The injunction prevents the Mississippi Department of Education from removing the superintendent, dissolving the Leflore County School Board and appointing a conservator. A conservator would run the district and answer to MDE directly rather than a local board.

Conservatorship usually also means elected superintendents are permanently changed to appointed posts, while school board members at the time of a takeover are barred from ever serving again. With up to 30 districts on a projected path to conservatorship by next year if a “new start” law isn’t revised, the outcome of legal intervention could have far-reaching consequences down the road.

Clarion Ledger
9/17