Harrison County Superintendent responds to actions of Biloxi, Gulfport leaders

Updated: Oct. 18, 2018 at 11:08 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Parents and residents in the Harrison County School District showed support for the upcoming vote on the $55 million school bond Thursday.

Supporters gathered for an organizational meeting two days after city councils in Biloxi and Gulfport requested the vote be delayed.

“This is a grassroots campaign as a parent and grandparent that wants our schools to be safe. And we need to build schools for the future, and along the way the other issues have come up,” said Alfred Sexton, a parent and grandparent of Harrison County School District students . “Right now we need to focus on what’s going to happen in 2019 and 2020 with the population growth and the increase in the school district.”

The plan calls for a pair of new schools, a redesign of North Gulfport Middle School and security upgrades at other schools.

Harrison County School District Superintendent Roy Gill said the school district followed procedure in getting the bond on the Nov. 6 ballot and by law didn’t need the cities' input.

“The cities have no jurisdiction over the county schools,” said Gill.

According to Gill, more than 15,000 students attend Harrison County schools. He expects the district to continue growing and said the new constructions and upgrades are needed to accommodate the growth.

“I never thought that there would be any opposition to a bond issue that isn’t going to require any additional taxes, especially by separate entities that have nothing to do with the county school district,” said Gill.

As part of the efforts to delay the bond vote, leaders from both Biloxi and Gulfport have said they would like to see all students living in their municipalities attend the city schools. For that to happen, the school boards from Biloxi and Gulfport would have to come to an agreement with the Harrison County School Board.

“The district boundary lines are not going to change,” Gill said. “The Harrison County School Board, to my knowledge, has no desire to open those discussions.”

While the debate of where school lines should be drawn continues for some, Gill is focused on making sure the students in his district have the best learning opportunities available.

“When people try to bring up issues to cloud the real issues, I think that is very detrimental when we’re talking about children,” Gill said.

A series of informational meetings have been scheduled by the Harrison County School District. Below is a list of those meetings.

Tuesday, Oct. 23: West Harrison High School at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 24: River Oaks Elementary at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 29: Lyman Elementary School at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 1: D’Iberville High School at 6 p.m.

For more information on the bond you can visit here.

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