Pascagoula City Council objects to school district name change

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The debate continues in Jackson County over changing the name of the Pascagoula School District. Last month, Gautier leaders asked the school board to add their city to Pascagoula School district's official title. Pascagoula city leaders have now sent their own letter opposing such changes.

Councilman Joe Abston said The Pascagoula School District name is well known in the state in his opinion. He doesn't understand the need to now call it the Pascagoula-Gautier School District.

"To me it doesn't have anything to do with the educational process," said Abston.

Pascagoula Councilman Frank Corder agrees.

"A name change does not better or worsen the education of the children. It is just a name," Corder said.

Both men are worried the name changes could be costly.

"Whether it is through letterhead, signage, buses, there is an expense to that," Corder said.

With almost half of the district's students living and attending schools in Gautier, leaders feel a name change would bring recognition and encourage economic development. Gautier leaders also feel the name change can be integrated over time.

"I do understand the point of the Gautier leaders with representing their city's interest and having some kind of pride and name stake in that," Councilman Corder explained. "But we represent our citizens' interests. We have been overwhelmingly told we don't want that, so we have expressed that in our letter of opposition to the school board."

School district leaders did send a letter to the state attorney general earlier this month to find out what the process is for legally changing the name before the board makes any future decisions.

"We will see how it turns out," said Councilman Corder.

The district has not received an answer from the AG's office, but leaders are hoping this name issue is resolved soon.

"The councils are involved at the point, but really to no avail because the ultimate decision going to be up to the school board."

The school board members have debated the name change idea a bit, with most having mixed feelings on the issue.

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