GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Residents in the Gaston community say Gaston Point Elementary, which was built in 1961, is a staple in the community. But the school may close its doors for good at the end of this school year.
Gulfport School District Superintendent Glen East says the school closure will save the district a lot of money.
“At the end of the day, we will save between $740,000 and $760,000,” East explained.
The low enrollment rate is putting a strain on the district.
“The school is small. So for example, in our third grade, this year, we only had 30 third graders. That’s above what the state allows. So that means we have to go and hire a second teacher, but really and truly, it’s only for about 8 students,” he said.
The district is looking to merge Gaston Point Elementary with West Elementary. But East is confident no teacher or staff at Gaston will lose their jobs.
“Right now, you have a p.e. coach at Gaston Point and a p.e. coach at West," said East. "For now, they could be there together, and then say we have an opening at Bayou Elementary, so that p.e. coach could go and teach p.e. over at Bayou View Elementary and not lose a position. So, we’re not cutting positions, not cutting people. We’re letting attrition take care of that over the course of this school year.”
East says he hopes to use the money saved from the school closure towards teacher supplements.