Officials oppose moving seventh, eighth graders

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

GLOSTER&045;&045;Talk among Amite County school officials of moving seventh and eighth graders this fall from Gloster Elementary School to Amite County High School in Liberty has met with stiff opposition from Gloster officials.

School district administrators last month suggested the move would ease a $200,000 deficit in the district’s current budget by saving on salaries and transportation.

But Gloster Mayor Bill Adams Wednesday said the idea makes no sense.

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&uot;They’re saying it would be cheaper to transport these kids to Liberty.

But they’re farther in debt now than they’ve ever been, and they’re doing it with those buses,&uot; Adams said.

High school students from Gloster have been bused to Liberty since ACHS was consolidated in 1987. ACHS currently has nine vacant classrooms.

About 150 seventh and eighth graders at Gloster Elementary would be affected by the proposed move. Kindergarten through sixth graders would remain at Gloster.

&uot;We’re opposed to it, naturally. But the five-member school board will have the ultimate authority on this.

We’re putting together some things now for them to consider,&uot; Adams said.

Calls to school district administrators on Wednesday were not returned.

However, an official at the school district office said the issue was not on the agenda for discussion at this month’s school board meeting.

Adams said community-based schools create a lower student-teacher ratio and provide for a better learning environment.

He would like to see the high school students returned to Gloster as well.

&uot;We should have high schools in both towns and let the chips fall where they may. They wouldn’t need as many buses and the kids wouldn’t be on the buses as long,&uot; Adams said.

Adams said schools are critical to Gloster’s future.

&uot;When you lose your schools, you’ve lost your town,&uot; he said.