Consolidation plans move forward

PINE BELT, Miss. - Lamar County, Lumberton, and Poplarville School Districts representatives discussed consolidation plans Friday at William Carey University.

By majority vote, Lumberton and Poplarville School Districts will move forward to consolidate with Lamar County.

Dr. Linda Smith, Superintendent of Lumberton School District said, "We really have kind of thought that this might happen eventually. It was going to happen forcefully. We've been looking at their policy, procedures, and trying to adopt some of the things already Lamar County is doing. And, we will do as much as we can to be prepared for the conclusion of the 2017-18 school year. So, when Lamar County takes over on July, 1, 2018, it will be a seamless transition, or as seamless as possible."

Lumberton will keep its K-12 schools; but, Poplarville wants the conversation to keep going.

Samantha Sandifer, CFO of Poplarville School District said, "I do believe in the short-term leaving the K-12 facility would be best for that community, and those students and families. But, I do believe in the long-term. I think we should have a plan in place where they can come to Poplarville School District."

"2500 (Senate Bill) asked that we make an effort to maintain a school there. It didn't have to be K-12. But, maintain some sort of school. But, when you start breaking a school a part, I mean that changes the whole dynamics for the community, for those students. If you think about it where older sister, her diploma says Lumberton High School, and her younger brother, he doesn't know what his is going to say. So, hopefully this will work out and we can maintain that school there for many, many years," said Tess Smith, Superintendent of Lamar County School District.

The commission members will speak with state legislatures next week in hopes of getting their stamp of approval as a result of this vote.

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