Firm: Merge 18 Mississippi school districts with others

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Consultants say 18 Mississippi school districts could be improved by merging with higher performing districts, generally their neighbors.

The 18 have small enrollments. Many are in low-income areas and have higher than average per-pupil administrative costs.

Several are in northern Mississippi and the Delta.

The 18 districts consultants identified for possible mergers with others are: Aberdeen, Benoit, Coahoma County, Coffeeville, Drew, East Jasper, Hazlehurst, Hollandale, Indianola, Jefferson Davis County, Kemper County, Montgomery County, North Panola, Okolona, Oktibbeha County, Quitman, Shaw and West Tallahatchie.

Denver-based consultants presented their findings Monday to a school-consolidation commission appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour.

Mississippi has 149 districts and three agricultural high schools. Consultants also say the agriculture schools should be merged with neighboring districts.

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