Moss Point Schools' accreditation could be lowered

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - The Moss Point School "accredited" status could soon be lowered. That recommendation comes from the state's special assistant attorney general after discovering the district violated several state and federal guidelines. Parents and community members are not happy about this news.

Gwendolyn Beard's grandkids attend schools in the Moss Point, so when she heard about the district's recent accreditation troubles, she became worried.

"Will they get a quality education? Will they be able get into an accredited college based on this?" Beard asked.

Mary Odom is concerned that the district will lose money for education if the rating is dropped.

"It is important they get the skills they need and we get the funds," Odom said.

According to an 11 page report issued by the State Attorney General's office, it is recommending that the Accreditation Commission downgrade the district from accredited to advised status.

Superintendent Colonel Kim Staley and the district team are accused of several violations. The commission asserts the district falsely reported kindergartners present for school before the kindergarten start date. The high daily attendance numbers can help boost funding.

The report also revealed several elementary teachers were paid as 100% special ed teachers, even though their classes included students not in special education. The findings also show the district encoded wrong information about personnel in the district to receive high reimbursements.

"I think it is a series of unfortunate events, and when you put them all together, it is bad," said Beard.

Superintendent Colonel Kim Staley did not want to speak on camera, but in this state document, he did admit to the charges against his district. He said although he has admitted to violations and will not contest the findings, nothing was done intentionally. He said his district will comply to all federal and state guidelines in the future.

Staley also said, "It is very unfortunate that this had to happen to our district. As the leader of this district, I take full responsibility of what goes on. I assure the community and district that the appropriate recommendations will be made once the commission makes its final decision."

The district's status will be determined by the Commission on School Accreditation next month.  According to a spokesperson with the department of education, if the rating is lowered the district will have to submit a corrective action plan and timeline for improvement.

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