We Are Lumberton: But For How Long???
Last week we received news that the Lumberton School System could be closed and students would have to attend school in Purvis or Poplarville because of SB 2498 that was introduced by Sen. Gray Tollison, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Details were not clear so I decided to call Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith for some clarity about the proposed changes. Let me preface this blog post by saying that Tess Smith is responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and oversees hundreds of employees. When I called, I wasn’t sure if I would get through and when she wasn’t in her office I didn’t think I would ever have my call returned because of her hectic work schedule and because I have yet to have my calls returned by Danny Davis, public works director of Lumberton that supervises 3-4 workers (including seasonal workers). To my surprise, Tess Smith returned my call and answered all of my questions.
For those of you not familiar with what’s going on, there was a Senate Bill introduced that will require schools with lower attendance to merge with a larger school district and it will probably pass since there’s a Republican super-majority. For years, there was talks about the fact that Lumberton was an odd school district that sat on two county lines and there was always talk of addressing this matter and it seems that we are now past talk and there’s actually something getting done to address this and other small school districts.
After speaking with Tess Smith, it seems that she has just as more questions than answers. She said she is actively working to get more details and answers regarding the Senate Bill. Tess Smith did state that “regardless of what happens, she will ensure that the students and teachers in Lumberton are treated with the same level of respect as those currently under the umbrella of the Lamar County School District.” Tess said that he goal is to ensure that every student receives a world class education and she said she will be involved in every aspect of the transition if it comes to fruition. The next few weeks will be very interesting and I will keep my eyes on Jackson because there’s a lot of details that are uncertain but one thing is for certain, Tess Smith is dedicated to education of our youth and will do whatever it take to help them succeed and those are admirable traits for a Superintendent.