Group suing Jeff Davis County school district over consolidation

Group suing Jeff Davis County school district over consolidation

JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - An action group is suing the Jefferson Davis County School District over the consolidation of Bassfield and Prentiss schools.

The Jefferson County School District made the decision in June to consolidate the schools due to the district not being able to maintain both schools efficiently with just 1500 students.

The Jefferson Davis County School Preservation Action Group, which is made up of three people, Bobby L. Wilson, Nadine Thompson and Pat Courtney, filed their complaint against the school district after they say students and tax payers were not given a choice in the matter.

According to the lawsuit, the consolidation would begin at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

The group argues in their complaint that the school board has not announced any plans on shutting down either school, and a location or construction plans for a new school have not been openly discussed.

The group also argued that neither Bassfield or Prentiss are close enough in distance to each other to have reasonable travel times for students that ride busses.

The complaint goes on to say that since no plans for consolidation or school closures have been made public that the district is putting taxpayers in a position of uncertainty when it comes to the finances of consolidation.

Per the complaint, the group is arguing that due to no new business in the county and the continued decrease in population that the district could not afford a consolidation, and that a new building may not be feasible or in the best interest of taxpayers and students.

The group is asking for an injunction to be issued requiring the district to release any consolidation plans before taking further action.

According to The Prentiss Headlight, Superintendent William Russell provided an outline in June that laid out the following:

"Each elementary and middle school K-8 grades will remain in their town. Prentiss High students will join with Bassifeld High students to form one county high school, grades 9-12. As a temporary solution, school students will use the existing Bassfield High facilities."

Russell told the Prentiss Headlight that a new high school name will be chosen with color and a mascot, and those decisions will involve students.

Russell also told the Prentiss Headlight that the new school will be in Carson, and tentative plans have the structure being built in three years.

A protest is being held Monday night outside of the school district.