Mississippi school districts

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K-12 Education in Mississippi
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Carey Wright
Number of students: 490,619[1]
Number of teachers: 32,007
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.3
Number of school districts: 163
Number of schools: 1,069
Graduation rate: 75%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $7,928[3]
See also
Mississippi Department of Education
Mississippi school districts
List of school districts in Mississippi
Mississippi
School boards portal
Policypedia
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Mississippi
Glossary of education terms

Mississippi is home to 163 school districts, 1,069 schools and 490,619 K-12 students.[4][5][6]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[7]
    • Dr. O. Wayne Gann, Chair, At-Large Member
    • William Harold Jones, At-Large Member
    • Rosemary G. Aultman, At-Large Member
    • Charles McClelland, At-Large Member
    • Richard Morrison, Administrator Representative
    • Kami Bumgarner, Teacher Representative
    • Vacant, First Supreme Court District Representative
    • Dr. John R. Kelly, Second Supreme Court District Representative
    • Vacant, Third Supreme Court District Representative

Statistics

The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and Mississippi Curriculum Test scores for eighth grade students.[6][8]

Student enrollment MCT2 Grade 8 scores
1.) DeSoto County 1.) Long Beach
2.) Jackson 2.) Enterprise
3.) Rankin County 3.) Pass Christian
4.) Harrison County 4.) Pontotoc City
5.) Madison County 5.) Ocean Springs
6.) Jackson County 6.) Petal
7.) Lamar County 7.) Madison County
8.) Vicksburg-Warren 8.) Tishomingo County
9.) Jones County 9.) Booneville
10.) Tupelo 10.) Union

Demographics

See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Mississippi as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[9]

Demographic information for Mississippi's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 958 0.20% 1.10%
Asian 4,666 0.95% 4.68%
African American 243,438 49.62% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 162 0.03% 0.42%
Hispanic 12,609 2.57% 24.37%
White 225,743 46.01% 51.21%
Two or more 3,043 0.62% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

State test cheating allegations

The Mississippi Department of Education is investigating Clarksdale Municipal School District and potentially other school districts to determine the cause of irregularities in their standardized test scores. In May 2014, The Clarion-Ledger published a report alleging that irregular test scores by students in Heidelberg Elementary School in Clarksdale indicated the existence of significant cheating. The newspaper's report included claims from both students and teachers supporting the claim. The state department hired Caveon Test Security in the same month to investigate the allegations. After a second report by the newspaper revealed irregularities in other districts over a five-year span, Superintendent of Education Carey Wright spoke to lawmakers in the Mississippi State Legislature to announce that the department could launch additional investigations in these other districts.

Although Superintendent Wright agreed that educators discovered to be involved in this scandal would face the loss of their jobs and licenses, Mississippi House Education Committee Chair John Moore (R) argued that they should also face jail time and fines for what he considers "absolute fraud." Rep. Chuck Espy (D) insisted that not all of the blame should fall on teachers if they were involved with cheating, since, "The measure of a great teacher is not a test, but their jobs are based solely on the [Quality Distribution Index] and the [Mississippi Curriculum Test]."[10][11]

Jackson County school resource officers

After receiving a state grant, Jackson County School District hired three armed police officers to provide security in its schools, which began in the 2013-2014 school year.[12] Following the decision, Superintendent Barry Amacker explained, "They'll be very quickly available if a situation arises or just being there to be visible. It's always great to have a presence of law enforcement in your building."[12] Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd added, "It was a need... They will have full arrest powers. They are certified law enforcement officers, and this is going to curtail we hope any problems that may arise in the future. ...With everything that's happening in the country, even the state that we've had happen, it's imperative that we be proactive rather than reactive."[12]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Mississippi State Board of Education adopted the standards on June 28, 2010. Full implementation was scheduled to be achieved in the 2013-2014 academic year.[13][14]

School board composition

Mississippi school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members for municipal separate school districts are appointed and confirmed by the local mayor, city council or board of aldermen. Mississippi school board elections typically follow the district method. In district elections, only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.

Most school boards consist of five members, although there are a few exceptions with six or seven members. School board members serve five-year terms, except for county school districts and two special municipal school districts whose board members serve six-year terms.[15]

District types

Mississippi contains five types of school districts:[16]

  • Municipal separate districts include the area of a municipality and possibly added territory beyond that municipality. Municipal separate districts have not been authorized since 1987, but those districts that existed before that time may still operate unless abolished by the county board of education or the district's own board of education, if petitioned to do so by residents.
  • Special municipal separate districts are municipal separate districts in which the added territory contains at least a quarter of the district's students.
  • County districts include all of the territory in a county, except for any territory possessed by a municipal separate district.
  • Consolidated districts include portions of a county that are not possessed by either a county school district or a municipal separate district.
  • Consolidated line districts are similar to consolidated districts but possess territory in multiple counties.

Term limits

Mississippi does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. State Senator Sollie Norwood (D) introduced SB 2635 on January 20, 2014, which would have created term limits for all municipal separate school districts, but the bill died in committee on February 4, 2014.[17]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Mississippi school board elections, 2014

A total of five Mississippi school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections in 2014 for eight seats. Each district has scheduled elections on November 4, 2014.

Here are several quick facts about Mississippi's school board elections in 2014:

  • The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 is DeSoto County School District with 31,916 K-12 students.
  • The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 is Lamar County School District with 9,251 K-12 students.
  • Lamar County School District has the most seats on the ballot in 2014 with three seats up for election.
  • Three districts are tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2014 with one seat up for election in each district.

The districts listed below served 85,743 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.[18] Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2014 Mississippi School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
DeSoto County School District 11/4/2014 1 5 31,916
Harrison County School District 11/4/2014 2 5 13,828
Lamar County School District 11/4/2014 3 9 9,251
Madison County School District 11/4/2014 1 5 11,811
Rankin County School District 11/4/2014 1 5 18,937


Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Mississippi, a person must be:

  • A resident of and registered voter in the school district
  • The holder of either a high school diploma or its equivalent

A person must not be:

  • An employee of the school district
  • Married to an employee of the school district

The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing a "qualifying statement of intent" with the county election commission. The number of petition signatures required and the filing deadlines vary according to the type of school district:[19]

  • Candidates in municipal separate districts must include a minimum of 25 petition signatures and it must be filed at least 60 days prior to the election.
  • Candidates in special municipal separate districts in Louisville, Natchez-Adams, Grenada and Tishomingo must include a minimum of 150 petition signatures and it must be filed between 90 and 30 days prior to the election.
  • Candidates in the Vicksburg-Warren special municipal separate district must include a minimum of 150 petition signatures and it must be filed between 90 and 60 days prior to the election.
  • Candidates in county districts must include a minimum of 50 petition signatures and it must be filed between 90 and 60 days prior to the election. If there are fewer than 100 qualified electors in a district, candidate petitions must only be signed by a minimum of 20 percent of residents.
  • Candidates in consolidated and consolidated line districts must include a minimum of 50 petition signatures and it must be filed between 90 and 60 days prior to the election. If there are fewer than 100 qualified electors in a district, candidate petitions must only be signed by a minimum of 20 percent of residents.

School board election dates also vary according to the type of school district:[15]

  • Municipal separate districts hold elections on the first Saturday of March.
  • Two special municipal separate districts hold elections on the first Saturday of March, but two other districts hold their elections during the November general election. In the fifth special municipal separate district, board members are appointed on or before March 1 each year.
  • County districts hold elections during the November general election.
  • Consolidated and consolidated line districts hold elections during the November general election.

Campaign finance

Mississippi requires all school board candidates to file a statement of economic interest with the Mississippi Ethics Commission within 15 days after qualifying as a candidate. All candidates must file periodic, pre-election and annual campaign finance reports with the municipal clerk. If a candidate receives a contribution of more than $200 between 10 days and 48 hours preceding the election, that candidate must file a "48 hour report" with the municipal clerk.[20][21]

See also

External links

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References

  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Mississippi Department of Education, "Mississippi District and School Information," accessed August 6, 2013
  5. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary & Secondary Education Finance," accessed August 6, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mississippi Department of Education, "Enrollment, Year 2011-2012," accessed August 6, 2013
  7. Mississippi Department of Education, "Mississippi Board of Education," accessed June 13, 2014
  8. Mississippi Department of Education, "2012 Student Assessment Information," accessed August 6, 2013
  9. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  10. The Clarion-Ledger, "State considers more cheating probes," June 30, 2014
  11. The Clarion-Ledger, "Lawmakers grill Mississippi Dept. of Education officials," June 30, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 WLOX, "Armed officers start patrolling Jackson County schools," August 7, 2013
  13. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed June 12, 2014
  14. Mississippi Department of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 Mississippi School Boards Association, "So You Want To Be A School Board Member: A Guide for Candidates," accessed July 9, 2014
  16. United State Census Bureau, "Mississippi," accessed July 9, 2014
  17. Mississippi Legislature, "Senate Bill 2635," accessed July 9, 2014
  18. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary/Secondary Information System," accessed March 21, 2014
  19. Secretary of State, "2013 Candidate Qualifying Guide," accessed July 10, 2014
  20. Secretary of State, "2014 Mississippi Elections Candidate Qualifying Guide," accessed July 10, 2014
  21. Secretary of State, "2014 Campaign Finance Guide," accessed July 10, 2014