Marion County Schools officials are considering merging the county's three high schools.

Marion County Superintendent Dr. Mark Griffith said Jasper Middle, South Pittsburg and Whitwell High Schools are in need of upgrades.

The idea to consolidate or merge, the high schools in the county to form one is in its early stages, which Griffith says would be a big change for Marion County.

"I've not lived in that world. I'll be honest with ya. I've been...this is my 13th year as superintendent and I've not been part of a 12 to 15 hundred student high school,” Griffith said.

Superintendent Griffith says this idea has been thought about for some time and some school board members believe it's the best way for the school system to go.

"There is a lot of components to this and it's not going to happen overnight. I will say that,” Griffith said.

If the school system decided to consolidate and form one high school in the county, Whitwell and Marion County High School would close.

Marion County and South Pittsburg’s old buildings would become new middle schools.

Griffith says those who are favor of merging schools want the new high school centrally located, making the commute easier for students.

"For logistics reasons. Bussing would be a major factor in things we would have to look at,” Griffith said.

As for taxpayers, Griffith isn't sure if taxes would be affected.

That will be up to the commissioners, who ultimately decide.

"There is a lot of questions out there. I'm very confident in this board. I feel like that they're doing what they feel is in the best interest of Marion County and the students of Marion County,” Griffith said.

Griffith says they plan to send out surveys on merging schools to the public on Monday.

County Commissioner Kenneth Skiles says he needs to see all the info before he can comment.