Moss Point's New Mayor Confident In Resolution To School Controversy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/19/05

Moss Point's New Mayor Confident In Resolution To School Controversy

A cloud of uncertainty looms over the Moss Point school district but the city's mayor-elect says he's confident a resolution will be reached before school starts.

A few days ago Superintendent Tressie Harper rebuffed the school board's demand that she resign by Friday or be fired.

On Sunday WLOX news tried to contact Harper and several school board members to find out if she had been officially told that she was out of a job but as of Sunday evening no one had returned our calls.

The school buses sit idle now but in August they'll be loaded with Moss Point children.

Mayor-elect Xavier Bishop says it's important students don't step off the bus and into a school system embroiled in controversy and turmoil.

"Given the fact that we plan to have a top performance school system here in Moss Point, I think it's important that we begin the school year with everyone on the same page working in that direction," said Bishop. "I'm confident that in the coming days the disputants will get together and resolve their differences."

The alternative is that differences between Tressie Harper and the school board become a legal fight.

Bishop says that would be a blow to teacher morale and therefore possibly affect the classroom.

He says even the city's economy could feel the impact.

"A good school system affects a community in several ways," he said. "Most importantly, it produces good citizens but it also sells. A lot of businesses will look at a school system to determine whether or not they should move into that community so not being able to resolve a dispute could affect someone's decision in opening up shop in Moss Point."

With children due back on school yards in a little more than a month, Bishop says he's not taking sides but wants to remind everyone involved that young impressionable minds are watching.

"They are our customers. They are the ones for which we have a school system and they are clearly watching what is going on and how we resolve our disputes," he said.

Xavier Bishop takes office as Moss Point Mayor on July 5th.

By Danielle Thomas

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