Long Beach consolidates schools - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach consolidates schools

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Long Beach School Board voted Tuesday to consolidate schools in the district next school year. But Superintendent Carolyn Hamilton said there are no plans to close any schools.

The district will re-organize the existing schools. Next year, there will be two K-3 schools instead of three. Harper McCaughan, which is currently an elementary school, will serve as the district's 4th-6th grade school. There will be one 7th-8th grade school and one high school, 9th-12th grade.

Superintendent Hamilton said they cut an administrator, guidance counselor and secretary in the consolidation. To avoid laying off teachers, she said the district did not replace many of the positions left vacant by retiring teachers.  These are some of the steps the district took in trying to cut costs. In all, Hamilton said it's saved about $1,250,265.

Some of the factors that led to the decision include a drop in enrollment. The superintendent said the district has been down about 500 students since Hurricane Katrina. She also points to cuts in education funding, as well as economic conditions in the city.

Hamilton said the district has been working on seven options, alongside parents, since October. Though she recognizes the changes will be tough on everyone, she said they did everything they could to avoid closing schools.

"It was very important. Our parents felt very strongly about that. Our communities felt strongly about it so we worked to try to find a way. I wished we would have been able to do it differently because this is going to be hard on everybody. But, we did value their opinions and tried to work out the best solution that we could."

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