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Commission nixes school consolidations

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — A commission reviewing Mississippi’s public school structure has proposed steps to smooth the way for school districts to consolidate, but doesn’t mandate any mergers. The Governor’s Office released the report Friday. Gov. Haley Barbour formed the Commission on Mississippi Educational Structure — a group of educators, business leaders and legislators — late last year after he proposed ...

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Report: Manufacturing activity ranks second in Southeast

KENNESAW, Ga.— Manufacturing activity in the southeastern United States declined by 3.1 points in August, according to the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business. The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (SPMI) — a reading of manufacturing activity in the six-state Southeast — for August was 53.2, marking four consecutive months of decline. The Southeast PMI encompasses Alabama, ...

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Report card: Schools improved, but nearly half underperforming

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI —Data released today by the state Department of Education show schools and school districts have improved their performance over 2009, though nearly half still rank as low performing or worse. Under the state’s accountability system, 51 percent of the 152 school districts are successful, high-performing or considered a star district, the highest possible rating. Last year, that figure ...

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City leaders approve tax hike to fund schools

GREENWOOD — The Greenwood City Council has approved a $25.5-million budget for the school district that includes an increase in the school tax rate while also approving a $10.6-million general fund budget that keeps the city tax rate the same. City Clerk Nick Joseph tells The Greenwood Commonwealth that the school district’s new budget contains a 3.5-mill tax increase, roughly ...

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Barbour to superintendents: Hang onto stimulus money

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Gov. Haley Barbour is telling school districts it might be smarter to save their federal stimulus money for next year rather than spending it all this year. Barbour said in a news release yesterday that he’s applying for $98 million in federal stimulus money. That’s Mississippi’s share of education funding from a $26.1-billion jobs package recently passed ...

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Lott retiring as president of MGCCC

PERKINSTON — The president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College will retire when his contract ends next June. Willis Lott has served as president of MGCCC for the past 12 years. The 66-year-old Lott says he doesn’t have any specific retirement plans, but he does want to spend more time with his family. Lott has worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast ...

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Rust asks supervisors for renovation funding

HOLLY SPRINGS — Rust College has asked the Marshall County Board of Supervisors to support application for an $800,000 grant to help restore five historic buildings on the former Mississippi Industrial College campus. The property was given to Rust College a year or so ago for management and redevelopment. Clencie Cotton, with the Rust College Community Development Corp., also asked ...

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Community colleges see another record enrollment

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi’s community colleges are continuing to experience record enrollment. Preliminary credit enrollment for the fall of 2010 is up to 88,800 students.  That is an increase of nearly 6,000 students, or 7.2 percent, compared to a year ago. Dr. Eric Clark, executive director of the State Community College Board, said, “Mississippians realize the importance of being educated ...

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BancorpSouth shows 'affinity' for universities

TUPELO — BancorpSouth plans to establishment of branded checking accounts and debit cards at Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. “BancorpSouth’s support of colleges and universities, including participation in a range of athletic sponsorship opportunities, is one of the wisest investments we make, providing a foundation for growth and viability in the communities and states where we ...

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Geospatial technology cluster goes private

JACKSON — The Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) reports that management and support of Mississippi’s geospatial technology industry cluster has transitioned from the University of Mississippi to the private sector. The cluster will now operate through a self-managed, self-funded program administered by the newly-formed Magnolia Business Alliance (MBA). The university and the member companies agreed that a solid foundation ...

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