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‘F’ rated Holmes County School District faces challenges at year’s end

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been a tough year for the Holmes County Consolidated School District. It has seen a revolving door in top leadership, financial woes and controversy over who the board wanted as a financial advisor.

Melvin Johnson has grandchildren in the Holmes County Consolidated School District and is disappointed about current conditions. The district has had three superintendents this school year. Dr. James Henderson resigned one month into the 2021 school year.

“Three in one year,” said Johnson. “I mean, who does that?” The school system is rated an “F” by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Johnson said virtual learning has also been challenging for students.

“Right now it’s left up to the grandparents and the mother and father to try to help those kids along as they go because the system is not doing it,” said Johnson.

In March, the State Auditor’s Office found problems during an audit when it did not receive all the necessary financial information to complete the audit. The district had no financial advisor.

Another controversy arose when MDE placed Shaquita Burke in that position. The school board rejected her application when she applied for the job.

Burke was Financial Advisor for the Vicksburg Warren School District in 2020 when she was accused of fraud. She resigned in November.

The Office of State Auditor investigated and closed the case in March without prosecution, finding no evidence for the allegation. Holmes County school officials reported that Burke works for the state.

According to a statement from MDE, Burke applied and met all of the qualifications for the advertised position.

“Something’s got to give, for the kids,” added Johnson.

Meanwhile, district officials said they plan to have a permanent superintendent in place on June first.

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