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Plan could allow state takeover of F-rated schools


Jeff Amy/The Associated Press



JACKSON -- Mississippi lawmakers are considering a sweeping plan that could remove more than 100 low-performing schools from local school board control for unknown periods of time. 


The proposal was added to House Bill 890 Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee. It says the state Department of Education must take over any F-rated school that doesn't reach a C rating after two years, or any F-rated school that improves to C and then ever drops back to D or F. 


The two-year clock would begin running with the ratings that follow the school year beginning next fall. That means takeovers could begin sometime after fall 2015. 


Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said Thursday he intends to amend the law to make department takeovers optional and not required. Last fall, there were 127 F-rated schools in Mississippi, almost 15 percent of all 878 schools that were graded on the new A-to-F scale. 


"You can't take over all those and I understand that," Tollison said. 


The Mississippi Department of Education, which proposed the new plan, said it intends takeovers to be optional. Larry Drawdy, the interim deputy superintendent who's running the current takeover process, said he hadn't read the current language. 


The change was rolled into a 108-page rewrite of a House bill that also includes plans for charter schools. 





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