Kellogg grant offer for Nichols will be on school board agenda

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Biloxi Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale told WLOX News Monday that the Nichols Elementary grant proposal will be on Tuesday's school board agenda.

The Kellogg Foundation had offered the Biloxi School District more than $1 million to re-open Nichols.  This week, representatives from the foundation are visiting a number of South Mississippi organizations to assess the needs in the area.

"Our work really focuses on vulnerable kids, those kids in the greatest poverty. That's the work that we're doing and we're here to learn what's taking place in Mississippi and how, if we fund in Mississippi, we could be a good partner to the community," said Joanne Krell, a Kellogg Foundation Spokeswoman.

Last Friday, Tisdale sent a letter to members of the Save Our Schools Coalition, asking the group to line-up a meeting with the Kellogg representatives while they are in town.  However, Tisdale learned Monday afternoon that the foundation members will not be able to meet with the district this week because they are on a tight schedule.

During one of their stops in Biloxi, Krell talked to WLOX about the grant offer.

"The Kellogg Foundation wanted to help provide an opportunity for a school that by all measure was an award winning, wonderful school that was new in the community, doing great things," said Krell. "It was heartbreaking to see that it was closing.  We were trying to provide an opportunity for that to be an ongoing school. So there have been discussions. An offer was made and we hope that those children will be best served and that's what we're hoping to see happen."

"I think we really have to reach out and make use of this or we do like a lot of times we do around here, we close the door on a good investment, thinking that others are going be running down the pipe, and we are the losers," said Coalition leader Bill Stallworth.

In the letter to Coalition leaders, Tisdale also stated that it's expected to cost at least $1.2 million to re-open Nichols. WLOX News will be at the Biloxi School Board meeting Tuesday as Tisdale updates the board on the issue.  He is not sure if the board will act on the matter.

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