Lumberton schools set to consolidate with Lamar County

Lamar County Schools will now host 19 schools, over 10,000 students and over 1,600 employees beginning July 1. (Photo source: WDAM)
Lamar County Schools will now host 19 schools, over 10,000 students and over 1,600 employees beginning July 1. (Photo source: WDAM)

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County Schools will now host 19 schools, over 10,000 students and over 1,600 employees beginning July 1.

Superintendent Tess Smith with the Lamar County School District said that the district has been in preparation mode.

"At this point, they're coming," Tess said. "So, yes we're ready."

This comes after a judge dismissed the Pearl River Board of Supervisors and the Poplarville Special Municipal Separate School District claim against the voluntary consolidation.

This was due to the Lumberton Public School District not splitting the county line as stated in the original version of Senate Bill 2500, which means that students who live in Pearl River County would have attended Poplarville Special Municipal Separate School District, while students living in Lamar County would have been transferred to Lamar County Schools.

"The commission was tasked with coming up with a plan, an administrative consolidation of Lumberton School district," Lumberton Public School District Superintendent Linda Smith said. "It didn't intend to close the schools, but if those 148 kids from Pearl River County were pulled from those schools, a couple of negative things would've happened."

Linda said she's grateful to Lamar County Schools for stepping in with the voluntary consolidation to take all students from Lumberton to ensure students will continue their education with Lumberton Schools.

Tess said she wants to keep a school in Lumberton for as long as possible.

"The enrollment would've dropped where it would be very, very difficult to maintain a school down there," Tess said. "You know when you think about it, that's a small town, and I hope that Lumberton can maintain its identity."

The Lamar County School district said they are currently looking for qualified teachers to fill vacant positions in Lumberton schools and several other schools.

Linda said she's excited for the future and more excited for the students and families.

"The goal is to try to grow great citizens, and Lumberton has some wonderful people and these children deserve to be able to continue in their own school,"  Linda said.

Tess said schools of the former district will continue to keep their names and logos. She says the only difference is that they will now be listed under Lamar County School District.

WDAM reached out to Pearl River Board of Supervisors but they declined to comment.

The full civil motion is listed below.