STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-As a proposal for Starkville city and Oktibbeha county schools to become one moves closer to becoming law, several parents voiced their concerns to Oktibbeha County leaders that their district is not being represented in the merger.
“To say that Oktibbeha County’s interest from a county school district’s standpoint was not represented is not a true statement,” says District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer.
Some Oktibbeha County residents say that there is not a healthy balance of power in the bill, claiming the Starkville School District will have more authority over consolidation. Democratic State Representative Tyrone Ellis says it has to do with numbers.
“Student population in Starkville School District is 4,300. The student population is around 800 in the county. You can’t increase the number of Representatives from the county standpoint based on having less students. You have to keep it in sync with the number of students that you have,” says Rep. Ellis.
Elizabeth Young says she wants Starkville leaders to know that there is much to gain from merging with Oktibbeha County Schools.
“Superintendent Holloway feels that Starkville School District will be bringing up Oktibbeha County school district and we just want to let them know that there are smart students in our district as well so we feel we have a lot to offer. According to one record, Starkville High School test scores were C and Oktibbeha County D, so there’s not much difference,” says Young.
Representative Ellis reassures county residents that a consolidation is the best option for the students and their future.
“The one thing I would say to the citizens of Oktibbeha County is get behind this. Let’s move forward and let’s get the students educated and let’s get economic development and jobs for our people,” says Rep. Ellis.
For residents who still have questions about the bill, Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors tells us they plan on discussing the bill in more detail at their next meeting on Monday, February 25th.