Some Biloxi Families Face Hefty Tuition Hike

Danielle Wagner is spending spring break hanging out with friends from her old school -- D'Iberville High. This year, this 16-year-old Sophomore switched to Biloxi High.

Her mom Roxanna Wagner said, "I wanted her to be able to get all the classes that would help her get into college. There's Latin. She'd like to take Spanish, and they don't provide any of that in D'Iberville".

The Wagners live in an area of Woolmarket annexed by Biloxi. According to state law, annexation by a city does not change where your children go to school. The family currently pays $600 to send Danielle to Biloxi High. They're not happy with having to pay as much as $4,000 a year.

Wagner said "I don't know if we can afford it, because we have another child coming up in the high school, and $8,000 a year is going be ridiculous".

Jack Gazzo agreed.

"I've got a young child that's in Kindergarten in Biloxi and a seventh grader who's at Michel. That means over the course of how they calculated it for both of my children to graduate at Biloxi, it would be $64,000."

Biloxi Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale admits it's a hefty hike.

"I think it's a matter of equity and fairness."

But he says it's time, families who don't pay school taxes in Biloxi bear some of the costs.

"You're paying $600, and it's costing us about $3,800 to educate your child. So who's making up that difference? It's the taxpayers of Biloxi who live inside the school district."

That means the Wagners face a difficult dilemma. Pay the higher tuition, or pull their daughter out of Biloxi High.

"Four thousand dollars is a lot on our budget. I mean, we can send her back and let her finish her last year in D'Iberville and use that $4,000 for college," Wagner said .

Some students will get a break. If you're a junior now, and plan to graduate from Biloxi High next year, your tuition rate will only be $1,000.