The Noxubee County School district will lose local control and be placed under state leadership, Gov. Phil Bryant announced Wednesday.

The announcement came via the governor’s Facebook page, where he wrote ” I believe this to be in the best interest of students, and the most effective way to set the District on a path toward academic and financial health.”

Last week the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation and State Board of Education declared an extreme emergency situation existed in the district and asked the governor to declare a state of emergency.

The decision is the result of a recent investigative audit conducted by the Mississippi Department of Education which found Noxubee in violation of 81 percent of the state’s accreditation standards which all public schools are required to comply with.

The audit cited concern with district finances and ability to make payroll for its employees, as well as academic infractions. Noxubee received a F grade from MDE for the past two years.

Bryant’s declaration of a state of emergency allows the Department of Education to give the district a $2.5 million loan to help offset financial problems and place Noxubee into the “District of Transformation” model.

The state board of education will replace the local school board. Superintendent Roger Liddell will be replaced by George Gilreath, a temporary interim superintendent, and Rodriguez Broadnax will ultimately serve as the interim superintendent. Under this model, the Noxubee County will have an interim superintendent until the district earns an accountability grade of C or higher for five years.

Liddell argued last week that his district is making strides in educational improvement.

Noxubee joins the Leflore County School District and Tunica County School District which are both currently under conservatorship.

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Kayleigh Skinner

Kayleigh Skinner

Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her three years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal, and has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.