Woolmarket Parents, Student Speak Out Against Tuition Hike

The controversy continues over a tuition hike for Woolmarket residents who attend Biloxi public schools.

Last month, the board proposed to raise tuition for Woolmarket students attending Biloxi schools from $600 a year to $2,000 a year per student during the 2005-2006 school year. That tuition would increase to $4,000 a year for the next school year.

Even though the residents live in a newly annexed area of Biloxi, they are still considered part of the D'Iberville School District.

At Tuesday night's Biloxi School Board Meeting, some parents spoke out against the tuition hike.

"With tuition going up that high, it's out of my financial range. I can't go that high. I don't know what else I'll do, but I'll find one way to get him in the Biloxi School System," said Woolmarket parent Julie Smith.

One Woolmarket student who attends Biloxi Junior High says he and his family already go the extra mile.

"Our parents have to provide transportation for us. We don't get any of the transportation benefits that other students get," Kyle Tootle said.

Kyle's father says some of the Woolmarket parents are seeking the Attorney General's opinion on the matter.

"We asked if the ad valorem taxes can be transferred from one school district to another school district on a student-to-student basis," Ronnie Tootle said.

Biloxi School Board President David Blaine addressed the parents' concerns, encouraging them to schedule a workshop with the school board.

"We need to sit down and discuss things that we've talked about, like the cost of educating the students, and to see if that's an accurate figure that we really need to set these students' tuitions at," Blaine said.

A date for that workshop has not yet been set.