Caresse Jackman

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Video: Aberdeen Conservator Discusses Education Bills

ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI)- From Charter schools to school safety, house and senate leaders are now working out their differences on what to do about education. Lawmakers still have a list of education proposals that are likely to go into conference this week. WCBI asked Aberdeen school district conservator Bob Strebeck for his take on several items, the first: Charter Schools.

“I think the concern about charter schools is the who and the what and the how and the when. Is it gonna be for a profit? A non-profit? Will the state board have auspices over the charter schools? Those are very important questions from my viewpoint,” said Strebeck.

Also on the list: school safety. The house wants to arm school employees, while the senate wants to have local districts place officers inside schools.

“Here in Aberdeen, we have 2 school resource officers and they are legitimate and bona fide and they have arresting authority, they carry a weapon. So from that point of view, I think that works really well for us,” said Strebeck.

Another topic: Merging school districts. Leaders are trying to decide how they will merge Oktibbeha and Starkville School Districts and Clay and West Point Schools. Strebeck believes consolidation works.

“When you talk about students and kids, those are the individuals that actually benefit from consolidation. The problem you have is the adults. You start talking about, ‘This is my school! I don’t wanna give up my school!’ And I totally understand that, but when you get down to it, when we consolidate a district, we can offer our students more,” said Strebeck.

And what about appointing or electing school superintendents?

“I personally think appointed, I prefer it. It takes the politics out of dealing with trying to get elected again and you make promises to constituents to maintain that voter pool. Our students, our kids, they would benefit with someone who totally focuses on educating those kids instead of worrying about re-elected,” said Strebeck.

As house and senate leaders hash out what to do next, here’s Strebeck’s piece of advice,

“I’m not a legislator, I’m not political in any sense. They have a very difficult job. I appreciate that, but just keep in mind, just use common sense,” said Strebeck.

Legislators don’t have very long to discuss these issues. The 90-day legislative session ends next month.