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By AP  /  
2015 August 24 - 08:51 pm

Miss. Dual Enrollment Program Encounters Obstacles

Early College High School Awaits Answers to Legal Questions

MAYHEW, Miss. (AP) — The inaugural ninth-grade class of no more than 50 students at the Early College High School in Mayhew is scheduled to start this fall.

But the Columbus school system has not signed a memorandum of agreement with the new school.

The project is a partnership among East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Education. The school will be located at EMMC’s Mayhew campus.

Columbus Schools Superintendent Philip Hickman told WCBI-TV in Columbus (http://bit.ly/1IPyDeQ ) that there are legal questions about transportation and ambiguous language about services to be paid for.

Hickman said state funding and test scores follow the students to the Early College High School but the school district is required to pay for some services. The students are not enrolled in the Columbus School District.

“One thing on the contract was that it was a five-year contract, and I think in the state of Mississippi you cannot exceed four-year contracts and those kinds of things. So, our legal department is just kind of combing over it to see if it’s something that we can agree to legally. Then we’ll put it back in front of the board,” said Hickman.

Planning for the new school started more than a year ago.

Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Lynn Wright said the district is still working out some minor transportation details but expects them to be resolved.

The West Point and Starkville school districts say their plans are in place and report no issues.

Noxubee County is also participating. The students who graduate after four years will earn not only with a high school diploma but also an associate degree.

The program is open to students in Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties entering ninth grade. The school will add a grade each year over the next four years.

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