January 31, 2014 2:38:40 PM
House Bill 833, as filed by Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, would place Starkville School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway in charge of Oktibbeha County School District July 1 if approved this term by state lawmakers.
The bill was introduced to the House Education Committee today and now moves to Ways and Means, Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, said.
HB 833 contains language similar to HB 716, the original Starkville-Oktibbeha consolidation legislation, while making adjustments prescribed by the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure. If passed, Holloway's new role would allow him to work "for the planning and assignment of school grades, programs, services and alignment of curriculum" for the upcoming consolidated school district.
As written, Holloway would have the ability to issue bonds for the county school district "in an amount not to exceed $2.2 million" to assist with OCSD elementary school renovations. Language is also provided allowing Holloway to issue up to $10 million in notes for both districts or the unified school system across a 10-year period ending July 1. 2024.
Holloway would also "have full authority to non-renew the employment contracts of any teacher, principal, clerical or administrative staff located in the former Oktibbeha County School District" for the 2015-2016 academic year.
A request made by the merger committee to hold over an expiring 2016 school board seat was also answered by HB 833. As written, a Nov. 2016 election will be held for the board member who resides outside of Starkville's incorporated municipal limits and will take office for a five-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
The Dispatch will have a full report on HB 833 in Sunday's edition.