Biloxi Superintendent Suggests Building New School

Yet another subdivision is going up north of the Bay.

Superintendent Dr. Larry Drawdy said "That seems to be an area that has a lot of population growth, because that's one of the few areas left in Biloxi where there's some land where people can build houses and apartments".

With more families moving into the new Savannah Estates in Biloxi, that means more students filling up classrooms at North Bay Elementary.

Principal Dr. Lauri Pitre said "We've averaged since the beginning of this school in 2000, about 100 students every school year. In some grade levels, we're up to 28 per class where the teacher-student ratio is 28 to 1".

At that rate, the school's enrollment could reach over 1,000 in a few years. That's why Biloxi's superintendent suggests planning now to take the student load off North Bay.

Dr. Drawdy said "The possibilities include building another elementary school out on the Kennedy property that's owned by the district, or they could build a new elementary school next to North Bay Elementary School and be designated grades 4,5,6 and then use the present facility of North Bay as K-3".

Dr. Drawdy also expects enrollment changes elsewhere in the district. He suggests looking at changing attendance zones for students at four other elementary schools, in case Keesler closes some base housing and military families move to other areas of the city.

Drawdy is offering these ideas so the school board and new superintendent can brace for the population shifts. Dr. Drawdy said "The dynamics of Biloxi are changing at such a rapid rate. All we're trying to do is trying to give some information so that way they can make some right decisions".

Dr. Drawdy estimates that a new school could cost about $10 million. It's now up to the school board and incoming superintendent, Dr. Paul Tisdale, to decide what to do with Dr. Drawdy's suggestions.

By: Trang Pham-Bui