by Max Brantley
The state Board of Education is meeting today, with items including a voluntary consolidation of the Lead Hill School District, which has fewer than the required minimum of 350 students, with the Ozark Mountain District.
Board member Ben Mays noted that the district, which will have nearly 1,000 students, will be maintaining four campuses with smaller enrollments. Board member Brenda Gullett noted, too, that Lead Hill couldn't be guaranteed its continued existence as a separate school if the consolidated district's finances won't allow it. Lead Hill supporters said they believed students that have left the district fearing the school would close would come back and bolster the school's ability to continue.
Administrative consolidation would have produced a financial windfall for the district, while not consolidating any campuses.
UPDATE: The merger proposal failed on a 4-4 tie vote. Jim Cooper, Joe Black, Brenda Guett and Vicki Saviers voted yes. Sam Ledbetter, Alice Mahony, Mireya Reith and Ben Mays voted no. Toyce Newton abstained.