The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 3/21/8

Consolidation of public school districts in Mississippi seems to be the deadly “third rail” subject state legislators won’t touch, even while knowing that some counties incredibly have as many as six school districts with overlapping duties.

Almost as lethal is the subject of taking school superintendents out of the political system and making them appointive. There’s now a crazy-quilt patchwork of both appointive and some elective superintendents in districts around the state.

Statewide, the existing total of 152 school districts – that includes both municipal and county school districts – isn’t bad, considering that Mississippi has 82 counties.

What is bad, however, is that a half dozen counties have an outlandish number of individual school districts with overlapping administrative functions. Bolivar County, with only 39,000 population and six school districts (more on that later), has long stood out as the champion of multiple school districts.

And every time the Legislature starts sniffing around to force counties to consolidate obviously wasteful school districts, it seems hopelessly incapable to get anything done.