SSD stakeholders laying path for district's future

February 21, 2013 9:44:43 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Starkville School District officials are holding the second round of scheduled strategic planning sessions to define the system's mission, vision and values 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn. 


Last month, a first planning session focused on the school district's current and projected makeup in regard to enrollment, facilities, financing and instruction. 


"That first session answered where we are as a district; now it's time to define ourselves to help answer where we're going," SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said. "We can't talk about where we want to go specifically until we ID what we - our stakeholders - value." 


A Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government project manager, Phil Hardwick, will lead tonight's meeting. Holloway said the session, which is scheduled to last 90 minutes, will divide attendees into small groups of stakeholders who will then set about brainstorming ideas to help define the district's most important characteristics and values. 


"I'll ask them to go through a series of exercises to help produce these answers, and then we'll report back to the overall group," Hardwick said. "This is a great way for the school district to gauge the community's vision for the school district as opposed to simply defining its own vision. I hope we'll have a really good discussion." 


As stakeholders discuss the district's future path, the specter of a potential consolidation still looms. 


HB 716 was referred to the state Senate Education Committee Wednesday, according to the Miss. Legislature's website. As of Wednesday, the bill was not listed among other resolutions the Senate is scheduled to discuss today. 


The bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, calls for the consolidation of SSD and Oktibbeha County School District. 


"We can't ignore consolidation and the stakeholders' questions about what that means for our school district. We will address those questions quickly, but I don't think we'll get too bogged down in that," Holloway said.  


The district previously scheduled four total strategic planning meetings with its stakeholders. Two more meetings - one each in March and April - remain.

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch