Reports of decrepit buildings, illiterate high school students and bloated employee rolls could fuel another round of school district consolidation by the Mississippi Legislature.

Bob Strebeck, who runs the Leflore County system since the state took control last year, told Senate Education Committee members Tuesday that conditions in the 2,800-student system are the worst he’s seen in six districts where he’s been conservator.

Strebeck said former administrators hired twice as many teachers as needed and gave employees raises just before the state took over.

“There was absolutely no academic accountability, there was no financial planning and the school district needs to be restructured,” he told the committee.

Strebeck hasn’t said how many employees he plans to lay off at the end of their contracts this spring, but said the 266 teachers and 37 central office employees are both at least twice as many as he needs. The system has 541 employees overall.

“Each day I am learning something about a new employee I didn’t even know I had,” Strebeck said.

Gulflive
1/29/14