New twist in elementary school battle

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi School Board Tuesday voted in favor of changing the attendance zone for Lopez Elementary students next school year.

The dividing line will be White Avenue. That means in August Lopez students who live west of White Avenue will attend Jeff Davis Elementary. Lopez students who live east of White Avenue will go to Gorenflo Elementary.

The changes are necessary after last month's decision to turn Lopez into an alternative school.

Parents and other concerned residents have expressed their opposition to the school board decision and now they're taking legal action to stop the changes.

"We have hired an attorney and we are continuing our protest by getting more petitions signed by following up on what our legal rights are with the attorney and we are discussing filing an appeal with the circuit court," Angela Lusk said.

Over the past few days, residents have collected 150 signatures petitioning the February school board decision to re-purpose Lopez Elementary School.

"I don't understand why they wouldn't come over here to a first rate school. It makes no sense to me," Gordon Antonette said.

Antonette is one of many residents collecting signatures for the petition. He says he isn't having any trouble getting his neighbors to sign on the dotted line.

"There was not one person here who wants this," said Antonette. "Not one."

Antonette has lived near Lopez Elementary for nearly 20 years and says he would hate to see the children moved to from the first class school to one he calls "mediocre."

"They're yanking the rug from underneath it and handing it over to a marginal school," said Antonette. "To me it's kind of a dumb thing here."

Not only does this community have an ongoing petition and an attorney but they say if school board members fail to cooperate, they will have a sit-in at the elementary school.

"They are not going to leave this school. And I believe this is going to happen," said Antonette.

While a sit-in at the school is the last option for the group, the people in the Biloxi community are committed to doing what it takes to save their school.

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