Available East Biloxi Housing Expected To Impact School Enrollment

Biloxi students who return to their hurricane damaged schools in January may find far fewer classmates.

Crews continue to repair Gorenflo and Nichols Elementary Schools in East Biloxi. Both took in several feet of water during Katrina. Right now workers are hanging sheet rock and painting. They expect to install air conditioners and floor tile in the next few weeks.

Repairs should be finished in early November, which means the schools would be able to reopen in January. But when it does, Biloxi Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale expects far to see fewer neighborhood children.

"We anticipate a little more than half the students returning when we open in January of '07. And depending on the housing situation here in Biloxi, particularly affordable housing, that will give us some indication of what our student enrollment trend may be."

Dr. Tisdale says the district is negotiating with several child oriented non-profit agencies about utilizing some of the schools' extra space once construction in complete.