Schools: Council, Legislature at odds

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 10, 2001
Local legislators Monday got an earful from members of the Meridian City Council about a new law that could allow separate school district residents to choose where their children can go to school.
Several city council members voiced displeasure about the law, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Their comments came at a Council of Governments meeting, also attended by legislators.
The bill, passed in March, allows separate school district residents to choose in deciding whether their children attend city or county schools if the council doesn't appoint a resident of the separate district. Because they live outside the city limits but inside the city school district, these residents can't vote for mayor and city councilmen, who in turn appoint school board members.
Potentially, it is a major financial issue, too. Between state educational assistance and local ad valorem taxes, the 227 students involved in the issue account for more than $800,000 now going to the city school district. Should they leave, at least $400,000 in state funding about $1,800 per student would follow them to county schools.
Mayor John Robert Smith has indicated plans to ask a resident of the separate school district to serve on the five-member board. Board President James Vance's term expired one week ago, but he will continue to serve until a new member is approved.
The bill, authored by state Rep. Eric Robinson, R-Quitman, was supported by the local legislative delegation.
Ward 1 Councilman Dr. George Thomas said offering the parents a choice in school systems wouldn't answer the problem of representation that many parents have complained about for years.
After hearing complaints from council members state Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, defended the legislative action saying lawmakers were trying to handle the issue one step at a time.
State Rep. Charles Young Sr., D-Meridian, also defended the Legislature's action because the issue is one of taxing citizens who have no representation.
Young told council members the Legislature wanted to act quickly on the issue.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

Franklin County

RCS holds annual Black History Month program 

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: American Legion Posts 64 and 120 – ‘Veterans Strengthening America’

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss Northwest Shoals

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss UNA

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: In memoriam – Monuments honor the fallen of Franklin

High School Sports

RHS senior chosen as Bryant-Jordan Region 8 Scholar winner

High School Sports

Russellville High School ladies soccer team members participate in annual Night to Shine

News

Russellville High School Scholars Bowl team qualifies for state tournament

News

Vina kindergarteners connect with lots of other classes

News

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Features

Wedding Spotlight: Layne and Frank Edwards

Franklin County

RHS senior competes at state DYW competition

News

Extension, 4-H present free resume workshop

Franklin County

Franklin County has lots to love

High School Sports

Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball

News

BTCPA announces second production of season

News

RMS holds annual state assessment celebration

Franklin County

Red Bay welcomes new city attorney

Franklin County

Attempted traffic stop leads to high-speed vehicle pursuit, wreck 

Franklin County

Vehicle pursuit ends in wreck, arrest 

News

RFD, RHS collab promotes job readiness, community safety

Franklin County

Local students named to Mississippi State University’s fall 2023 President’s List

News

Russellville Elementary features among U.S. News & World Report best elementary schools

News

RCS receives recognition as finalist for national award

x