3 Biloxi schools closing, so what's next? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

3 Biloxi schools closing, so what's next?


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The closure of Beauvoir Elementary, Nichols Elementary and Michel 6th grade school will impact more than 800 students. In shifting students to different schools, the goal, according to Superintendent Paul Tisdale is to reach a student/teacher ratio of 20 to 1.  Right now, the ratio is 17.4 to 1.
Students at Nichols will attend Gorenflo Elementary.  Beauvior students will attend Jeff Davis and Popp's Ferry Elementary Schools.  Tisdale said the boundaries establishing where Beauvoir students will attend won't be finalized until May. Michel 6th graders will attend Biloxi Junior High.

Regarding school personnel, Tisdale said the district is focused on notifying teachers as soon as possible.  At this point, Tisdale said he has not determined how many teachers will lose their jobs.

The superintendent has asked all elementary school principals to evaluate staff on their year-to-date performance.  After which, Tisdale said he will determine the pool of teachers from which the district will cut.  Those facing job losses must be notified, by law, within ten days of the governor approving the K-12 budget.  That could come as early as this month, as lawmakers are supposed to pass a budget by April 28.

Other school employees like secretaries, assistant teachers and special education aides will be notified after teachers.  Tisdale said the administrators of the closing schools have had their contracts renewed through the next school year.  They will have to be reassigned.    

Tisdale said unless enrollment increases in the areas surrounding the schools, the buildings will not re-open as schools.  He would not specify by how much that enrollment would have to increase. 

While there are no plans for the buildings at this point, the superintendent said there is a possibility the schools could be leased to businesses or organizations in the future.   

The board also approved additional reductions during Tuesday's meeting.  There will be reductions in work days for school employees, including administrators and district administrators.  The athletic budget will be reduced, including job cuts among 9th grade coaches. The district will cut the four elementary mental health counselors positions. The public relations budget will also be cut by 50 percent. 

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