Following a meeting packed with passionate debate about which schools students will attend in Pearl and Rankin County, the Rankin County School Board voted 3-2 in favor of settling an annexation lawsuit.
At issue, Pearl wants to annex three specific areas in the Rankin County school zone.
Attorneys for Rankin County advised the board against settling the lawsuit to annex. They maintained that students equate to money and the school district could potentially lose millions if the annexation occurred.
Attorneys for Pearl said that would not happen because the students currently attending Rankin county schools would not be required to transfer to Pearl schools.
Pearl parents supporting annexation were vocal. Among them the Police Chief.
"If I want my kids to go to Pearl. I'm looking for property in Pearl" Said Chief Ben Schuler told the board. "If I'm looking to go to Brandon school district, I'm going to Brandon looking for property."
"You tell me where in Pearl, Mississippi, in the Pearl school zone, that somebody can go and build" Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers told the board. "That's why we did the annexation. I'm not arguing that. I'm going to tell you what the law says. I'm telling you, the facts to about Pearl, and I'm going to tell you something else. I would expect your expert witnesses to tell you what you paid them to tell you."
There are 484 students in the annexed area enrolled in 8 Rankin County schools.
Rankin Board members Cecil McCrory, Grumpy Farmer and Ruth Burgess voted in favor of moving forward with a settlement.
Board President Ann Sturdivant and member Debbie Tolleson voted against it.