State approves JPS plan for improvement, warns Hazlehurst

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Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi Today

The Mississippi Department of Education’s audit report on the Jackson Public School District.

The Jackson Public School District can begin clearing its accreditation violations now that state education officials have signed off on the plan to fix them.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi State Board of Education approved the district’s corrective action plan (CAP), which the district was required to submit after being placed on probationary status. The CAP contains specific timelines and actions to address the issues highlighted in a Mississippi Department of Education investigative audit of the district completed in August 2017.

The board delayed approval of the CAP last month because Department of Education officials said the plan had a wide range of issues and was not specific enough.

The board approved the Natchez-Adams School District’s CAP as well Wednesday, but chose to deny the plan submitted by Hazlehurst School District.

MDE Chief Accountability Officer Paula Vanderford told the board Hazlehurst initially submitted its CAP after a deadline, and later submitted a new plan but it too needed work.

“So after at least three revisions for the district they need more work, and we cannot recommend at this time to approve the plans that have been submitted,” Vanderford said.

Like JPS and Natchez-Adams, the district is currently on probation, but the board could also choose to withdraw Hazlehurst’s accreditation altogether.

“This is well beyond the timeline, and when you’re thinking that JPS has produced an acceptable corrective action plan that is over 400 pages long, I’m hard pressed to figure out why we are not in a position of receiving this from the district that should be acceptable at this point,” said State Superintendent Carey Wright.