Poplarville School District in a quandary

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Last year, the Poplarville School District received word that it may have to absorb the students currently attending the Lumberton School District currently living in Pearl River County.

Since those students live closer to the Lumberton based schools, they attend classes in the neighboring county.

Senate Bill 2500, introduced last year, aims to separate those students by the county line, transferring the students in the north end of Pearl River County to Poplarville schools.

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Now, according to Poplarville Superintendent Carl Merritt, the Lamar County School District is interested in absorbing all students currently attending the Lumberton School District, including those living in Pearl River County.

On the face of it, it makes the most sense to move students living in Pearl River County to Poplarville schools, as outlined in the bill.

However even if the bill were to come to fruition as it currently stands, that would mean the Poplarville District would still see an increase of students.

Without the use of the Lumberton facilities, that would mean additional facilities would need to be found until new classrooms could be built in Poplarville.

There’s typically only one temporary solution for such a situation, mobile classrooms.

While sufficient in the interim, the best solution would be to provide permanent classrooms, which may mean a tax increase for those living in the Poplarville School District.

Anyone that kept an eye on the recent election concerning the Pearl River County School District’s proposed $17 million bond knows that tax increases are never popular.

Certainly, if, as it should be, Lumberton is receiving taxes from the Pearl River County students, Poplarville could lobby to receive those taxes to offset the expense, but even if that did come to pass, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another bond election held in the north end of the county.

Something has to be done with the situation. Lumberton’s students and schools will be consolidated by the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The hard part will be finding an agreeable solution to the problem of which students will go where, and at what expense.