GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Could a year-round schedule be put into place at Gulfport schools?
Maybe, but not any time soon.
“Right now it’s not an issue about whether or not people like it. It’s them knowing what it is about for them to decide whether they like it or not,” said Justin Gros of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee.
“We’re at the point right now where we have gathered data from other school districts, we’ve gone on trips, we’ve looked at the possibility of that coming to Gulfport, so we wanted to know what that would look like,” he said.
The concept of a year-round school schedule is just one issue being studied by the Gulfport School District’s Strategic Planning Committee. It works on a five-year schedule with multiple concepts studied by subcommittees.
“This document is a living, breathing document. It just doesn’t collect information and we put it on the shelf,” said Assistant Superintendent Mike Tatum. “It’s got to be revisited every five years.”
The committee has looked at the year-round idea for two years, and they are continuing to receive input from the community.
“Our goal is to involve as many people as we can because this is not a decision that one person makes,” Gros said on Friday. “This is a decision that we make as a committee, which is being represented by our entire community.”
One of the biggest misconceptions is that the idea came as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They began looking at the concept at least two years ago.
“I think COVID-19 got tied into it and basic thinking that we were making a decision based off of that, but it was not,” Tatum said.
“What I think is important right now is for people to understand is that this is not a decision that is being made right now,” Gros said. “This is a conversation that we as a committee are having with different parts of our community.”
The Ocean Springs School District considered a year-round schedule several years ago, but a lack of consensus led them to drop the idea.