An impressive crowd lined the purple bleachers at the Provencal Elementary-Junior High School on April 20 and they were all there for a common purpose.
Dr. Grant Eloi, NPSB School Board Superintendent and a delegation that included: Business Affairs Supervisor, Lee Waskom, School Board Members; Emile Metoyer, Eugene Garner, Russ Danzy, Beverly Broadway and Reba Phelps were all on hand to hear the questions and concerns of the Provencal area parents.
Dr. Eloi began his presentation by apologizing to the crowd for not presenting a more thorough timeline of hopeful events with a deeper explanation of how the board arrived at the possibility of a new High School. He also started by clearing up a few rumors from the street committees. Dr. Eloi advised the eager crowd, “ There were no intentions of closing Provencal or Marthaville. There are intentions of closing any of the current schools.” Another rumor cleared up was the fact that there is not a dedicated site for the new school, should there be one.
His slideshow presentation also provided the detailed plan and timeline for each step. He spent a fair amount of time explaining the importance of the very first hurdle of the process which includes the current School Board voting and approving the consolidation of the Taxing Districts 6,8 and 10 into a new District 11. This would have to be accomplished in the June Board Meeting.
An ample amount of time was spent explaining how schools are currently funded and how millages affect funding. When the floor was opened up for questions there were several from the crowd. All of the questions and or statements included the fact that they supported a new school. A concern was raised about the amount of time children spend being bussed. One concerned parent said his child rides the bus for three hours a day.
Mr. David Elkins, retired NCHS Principal and NPSB Educator, also addressed the crowd in support of the new high school and consolidation efforts.
One parent spoke about all of the positive things that could happen once we build a new school and it included economical development. Dr. Eloi, Mr. Waskom and School Board Members were on hand before and after the meeting to answer questions on an individual basis. The next NPSB Town Hall Meeting will be Thursday, April 22nd at the Marthaville Gym. There will be another NPSB Town Hall meeting on April 27th at 6:00 pm at New Birth Baptist Church in Natchez. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.