Parents speak out on losing Lopez Elementary School

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For parent Dawn Gallardo, the reality of losing Lopez isn't quite settling in.

"I know there's another way instead of just closing the school and shoving the kids somewhere else. It doesn't work like that," says Gallardo.

For other parents, it's a reality they're beginning to accept.

"I'm sure everyone has a purpose for this. I hope that it works out," says parent Chris Wise.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale said the school's aging facility and decreased enrollment were some of the factors considered in turning Lopez elementary into an alternative school.

"I grant you there's not a lot of kids here, but my daughter's got a really, really good education here," says Gallardo.

Lopez is a level five school with a National Blue Ribbon status. Parent Lester Walker, whose wife teaches at Lopez, says although students and parents will miss their home school, they won't miss out on a quality education with the move.

"I just feel like the kids are going to be taken care of that's the bottom line," says Lester Walker, parent.

The school's principal, Rick Reed, said the superintendent stopped by to talk with faculty on Wednesday.  Reed said although the day was tough at times, students and teachers were trying to remain positive and upbeat.

Though the change will no doubt be a challenge for the school, in the end, parent Lester Walker says the community has shown it can weather its share of obstacles.

"We lost everything we own in Katrina. I think once you've done something like you're set for life to be able to handle difficult situations."

Reed said Tisdale told faculty members no one will lose their jobs.  They should know by April where they will be placed.  Starting next year, students at Lopez will be bussed to Gorenflo and Jeff Davis Elementary Schools.