School’s new consolidation plan fails to win support from Covington council


COLLINS, Miss. (WDAM) – A proposed new consolidation plan for Covington County schools has failed to win support from the Covington County School Board.

This plan, submitted by school superintendent Babette Duty, would have closed Mount Olive High School and Hopewell Elementary School and reoriented Collins Elementary School and Carver Middle School.

Duty said the plan would save the district money and offset a teacher shortage and provide more equitable academic and athletic opportunities for students.

But, at a special school board meeting at Mount Olive High School Thursday night, many residents spoke out against the proposal.

Subsequently, a motion to adopt the new plan failed.

“I’m not against consolidation, but I think primary school children should stay in the community. If we want to consolidate the county, let’s build a centralized high school,” said Joyce Fairley, one of the residents present at the school board meeting.

“I felt like it was an injustice because it wasn’t transparent,” said John Graves, president of the Covington County branch of the NAACP. “If the Council had come to the citizens and told them about it, I think we could have solved this problem much earlier. so that’s my whole problem.

“It’s not personal, the only way it’s personal is the student, they need us to do what’s best for them,” Duty said. “So that’s what we’re going to try to do best, get the board together and now obviously we have a lot of community support, it seems, to be part of the initiative to change things.”

The plan would have closed Hopewell Elementary School and converted Carver Middle School into an education center for the county’s gifted and alternative programs.

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