The Clarion-Ledger, 5/16/8

The Mississippi Board of Education is expected to clear the way today for the takeover of the embattled Hazlehurst Municipal School District, a measure used only in emergencies.

Critical academic and financial problems prompted the state to expedite the takeover process, officials say.

The education department’s Commission on School Accreditation -which makes recommendations to the state Board of Education regarding takeovers – downgraded the district’s accreditation status Thursday from advised to probationary, based on the state’s findings from the district.

“Someone has to get on the ground before the wheels completely fall off,” said Hank Bounds, state education superintendent.