Gilich: There is a better path to schools issue

The City of Biloxi went on record weeks ago opposing the Harrison County School District’s asking residents to borrow $55 million for school improvements, and Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich wants those Biloxi residents who are paying higher county school taxes to know there is an alternative.

Gilich, in a message titled “Opportunities, Challenges and Alternatives” and scheduled to arrive in mailboxes Friday, notifies residents that under state law, “school district lines can be changed by agreement of the school boards of adjacent districts.” Additionally, “51 percent of voters of a specific territory can request or ‘petition’ that the school district lines be changed.”

The special edition of the city’s BNews newsletter, delivered to the Biloxi portion of the Harrison County School District, includes Gilich’s analysis of the issue, a map, enrollment and tax figures for the Biloxi and Harrison County school districts, and a form for residents to fill out and return if they are interested in lower taxes and want to be part of the Biloxi school district.

Writes Gilich to Biloxi residents in the Harrison County School District: “Let the two school boards work together to the benefit of the taxpayers and to the future. The Biloxi Public School District could certainly help with the overcrowding issue, given the opportunity. Ask questions and decide what’s right for you and your finances.”

Since he became mayor in 2015 Gilich has sought a discussion of the schools issue. Biloxi residents ought to attend Biloxi schools, he says, where taxes are lower – $250 a year on a $200,000 home – and students would be part of an A-rated school district. The proposed bond issue, announced weeks ago, amplified his message.
See the four-page newsletter