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District gets emergency declaration

OKOLONA — Gov. Haley Barbour has declared a state of emergency exists in the Okolona Municipal Separate School District, authorizing the state Department of Education to take immediate corrective action.

“After reviewing documentation provided by the state Department of Education, I am convinced that existing conditions in the Okolona Municipal Separate School District jeopardize the educational interests of the children enrolled there,” Governor Barbour said. “(This) action will allow the state to take immediate steps so the school district can begin to recover from serious fiscal and academic deficiencies.”

The governor’s proclamation is in response to a resolution adopted by the Mississippi Board of Education at its Feb. 19 meeting, requesting the state of emergency declaration.

A release from Barbour’s office said: “The Mississippi Board of Education found that there is sufficient cause to believe that an extreme emergency situation exists in the Okolona Municipal Separate School District brought on by serious concerns about the financial resources of the District and serious violations of accreditation standards and a continued pattern of poor student performance. The district has placed school children in an unstable and inadequate environment, denying the students the opportunity to learn, excel and obtain a free and appropriate public education.”

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