Bay-Waveland School District Considers Consolidating

"It was the perfect school," said Dr. Frances Weiler. "It was the perfect size. The perfect age children."

That perfect place is now scarred and empty.

"It's like a ghost town," Dr. Weiler said.

Seven months after Katrina flooded North Bay Elementary, debris and an eerie calm still surrounds the campus. The principal believes the building will never welcome children again.

"I know we will not be able to rebuild," said Dr. Weiler. "I know that FEMA has recommended that it be demolished. That in itself is not as much sad for me, as it is sad for all the generations of parents who've gone there, and who expect their children to continue to go there."

There's a chance the students at North Bay could end up at Bay High, if the school board decides to consolidate the district.

"Right now, we have six campuses," said Bay-Waveland Superintendent Dr. Kim Stasny. "They want to look at consolidating and having fewer campuses. For example, maybe creating a K through 2 with Waveland Elementary, and turning the high school possibly into a 3 through 5."

If that happens, the high school would have to find a new home. But the district can't do anything, until it finds out how much money it will get from FEMA.

"I'm frustrated that we're seven months now, and I don't have a firm handle on plans for the district," said Dr. Stasny. "I don't have long-term plans. I don't even have short-term plans."

Dr. Frances Weiler says her staff and children will adjust, wherever they end up.

"It really doesn't matter, because I know they're going to provide a space for us, and then we're going to make it a school," Weiler said.

The school board is looking at a 44-acre site near Old Spanish Trail to build a new state-of-the-art high school. Officials say renovating and rebuilding schools in the district could cost about $42 million.