September 14, 2017
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) determined today that an extreme emergency situation exists in the Jackson Public School District (JPS). Acting on a recommendation from the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation, the SBE voted to ask Gov. Phil Bryant to declare a state of emergency for the school district.
The Jackson Public School District has significant issues that jeopardize the safety, security and educational interests of the children enrolled in its schools. The district is in violation of 24 of the 32 accreditation standards that all Mississippi public school districts are required to meet.
The violations are documented in the On-Site Investigative Audit of the Jackson Public School District (JPS), which the Commission on School Accreditation in August 2016 directed the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to conduct after a limited district audit of 22 schools cited severe deficiencies related to school safety and instructional practices. The MDE conducted the full investigative audit of all 58 schools in JPS from September 6, 2016 through July 31, 2017.
“The Board was compelled to intervene because Board members are extremely concerned about the safety, security and educational interests of the students in the Jackson Public School District,” said Rosemary Aultman, the SBE chair. “All students in Jackson, and the state, deserve a quality education that will take them as far as their gifts will let them go. The Board is obligated to act when conditions in a school district jeopardizes students’ education.”
A state of emergency would make JPS a District of Transformation, which would result in the following:
- The district’s accreditation could be withdrawn
- The SBE would appoint an interim superintendent
- The local school board would be temporarily disbanded
- The SBE would become the governing body until the district is returned to local board leadership
- An interim superintendent would remain in JPS until the district has sustained a grade of C or higher for five years.
- An interim superintendent would work with district staff to correct all accreditation violations, while making raising student achievement the primary focus
If the governor agrees with the SBE, officials from the MDE will meet with the administration, faculty and staff of JPS after the declaration, followed by evening meetings with parents and community leaders.
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
Jean Cook, APR