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School transfers allowed under House bill

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Feb. 7, 2001
The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday allowing parents in the Meridian Separate School District to choose whether to send their children to Meridian or Lauderdale County schools.
Co-authored by State Reps. Eric Robinson, R-Quitman, and Tommy Horne, Independent-Meridian, the bill passed by a vote of 114-4.
Lack of representation on the school board has been a heated issue for parents and taxpayers who live inside the Meridian Separate School District but outside Meridian's city limits. Because they live outside the city, they can't vote for mayor or city council members who in turn appoint the Meridian Schools Board.
These parents can vote for Lauderdale County School Board candidates, but their children are not allowed to attend county schools because they live in the Meridian Separate School District.
If the bill becomes a law, it could have statewide impact. The measure requires municipal separate school boards to either give taxpayers who live outside the city but inside the school district representation or allow those students to transfer out of the district.
The effective date of the bill is July 1, 2001.
State Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, said he dislikes the bill's "transfer threat aspect," but that "it really is a representation bill after all, and not a student transfer bill."
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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