MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) – The Moss Point School District is beginning the school year with fewer dollars, teachers, and elementary schools.
Moss Point Upper Elementary is now home to all the district's 5th and 6th graders. Charlotte Hyatt and Orange Lake elementary schools closed as part of the district's restructuring plan. Superintendent Kim Staley said the district will save money and better target kids at their own levels.
"We have a kindergarten school. We have one school that is for first and second grade, one for third and fourth, fifth and sixth," Superintendent Staley said. "It gives opportunity for better collaboration, which we hope will result in better education for our children."
Staley said the consolidation plan also forced him to erase several teachers from the roll.
"We are down 15 to 20 teachers from where we were last year, and we are still looking at those numbers. It was really through attrition."
Staley blamed the major cuts on the district's tight budget. He said the district is down nearly $2 million this school year.
"The state is looking at a big cut again this year. We were cut last year. What compounds things this year is the oil spill, plus the economic situation."
Despite the budget woes, Staley is confident his students have the books and technology they need to get a quality education.
"We have Promethium Boards. We also have software the kids are able to use away from the school setting."
Staley said his main goal is to not let any future cuts take away from student achievement in the classroom.
"Our focus is on education."