Alcorn board ponders closing of elementary schools

n Rienzi and Glendale schools may merge with Biggersville and Alcorn Central.
By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – Alcorn County School District officials have been wrestling with a proposal to close the county’s two smallest elementary schools as a way to return to stable financial footing.
Superintendent Stacy Suggs and Assistant Superintendent Wayne Henry told administrators, teachers and staff at Rienzi Elementary and Glendale Elementary schools that a proposal to close the schools was being evaluated and considered as a cost-saving measure.
An estimated $883,527 might be saved with the two school closings, Suggs told Board of Education members this week.
Those savings would be realized by eliminating administrative, utility and maintenance costs, he said, while no teaching positions would be sacrificed.
If the schools were closed, Rienzi students would transfer to Biggersville, Glendale students would transfer to Alcorn Central and teachers would be absorbed throughout the district in openings created by retirements and resignations.
Suggs said he has heard from a number of parents who strongly object to the idea of the school closings.
Recent news that the district may receive additional funds through the federal stimulus program may restore district funding that was cut earlier this year. If the district receives these funds the school closings may not be necessary.
However, board members are still waiting for final word and have not said when they will make a decision.
The district started the fiscal year with only $319,000 in its fund balance after struggling to recover from a more than $400,000 budget shortfall discovered the previous fiscal year.
Nevertheless, the district expected to hold its own until the governor, in the wake of a state revenue downturn, imposed an additional $651,000 cut in January, which left it at risk for being taken over by the state if it finished the fiscal year with a deficit.
Suggs noted that considering school closings is a last resort. The district also evaluated outsourcing maintenance and janitorial services as well as consolidating bus routes.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell