Flowood mayor proposes separate Northwest Rankin school district - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Flowood mayor proposes separate Northwest Rankin school district

FLOWOOD, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads showed WLBT a letter detailing a recent safety inspection at Northwest Rankin Middle School. It says there are just 8 urinals and 8 commodes for 697 male students, and 16 commodes for 717 female students.

He also showed us pictures of the concrete pilings holding up the portable classrooms at the middle school. He says it's unacceptable.

"I don't think the parents out in the Northwest Rankin School District are aware of the situation at the middle school. If they were, they would have folded out so quick to vote on that bond issue, because we're talking about our children and grandchildren here," he said.

Board President Ann Sturdivant says the pilings are actually driven into the ground and welded, and pass inspection by the Mississippi Department of Education. But no one denies that facilities need upgrading, and students need much more room.

Mayor Rhoads has asked the board to allow the seven Northwest Rankin schools to break off and form a separate district. He says it's not a jab at the hard working teachers and school staff members in the county.

"Our teachers and administrators are some of the best in the southeastern United States," he said. "It's our facilities. It's all about our facilities."

It's unclear how Mayor Rhoads' proposal is going over, but Northwest Rankin High School Principal Richard Morrison says almost all of the Rankin County schools have facility problems.

"I don't want it to seem like we want to do something different from them. We're part of a great school district, we want to continue to be part of a great school district," Morrison said.

Thursday afternoon, Sturdivant told 3 On Your Side the crowding issue has not been forgotten. The school board will begin working on a new bond issue in January.

Sturdivant also says she understands the frustration among Northwest Rankin parents, and Mayor Rhoads. She says creating a new district may not be a good idea, as state government is considering consolidating school districts. 

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