BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi School Board voted Tuesday night against accepting $1.5 million from the Kellogg Foundation, which was offered to reopen Nichols Elementary School. Instead, the board decided to submit a proposal to the foundation to use the money for special intervention and tutorial programs for at risk students.
The school board closed Nichols Elementary at the end of the school year citing budgetary concerns. But that decision generated a lot of controversy. Among the most vocal opponents of the closing has been the Save Our School Coalition.
Coalition members questioned the school board's actions citing, among other things, the school's accomplishments, most notably its status as a Blue Ribbon School. Nichols Elementary was one of only five schools in the state to receive the national honor.
The group also points to the school's historical significance and ties to East Biloxi and its African-American community.
The Kellogg Foundation is a Michigan organization that donates millions of dollars each year to support children, families and communities across the country. The $1.5 million grant the foundation offered would have been spread out over three years.
Biloxi Superintendent Paul Tisdale and the head of the School Board, Kenny Holloway, have publicly said they could not support the offer because the district would find itself in the same place after the three grant expires, still needing money to keep Nichols open.
They also had issues with some of the grant requirements. One would have been to create a joint-board comprised of community members and school board members working together to act in the best interest of the school. Tisdale and Holloway argue the Biloxi School Board already fulfills that role.