PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The Petal School District is the top school district in the state. As a result, it has become a destination for education throughout south Mississippi.
School district officials say they plan to serve the growing population of students, but they must first find the land to expand. Superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon said trend data shows constant population growth in students over the last few years.
“We’re running out of space throughout the district. We have one of our newest schools, which is Petal Primary School, which is a K through two. We have utilized all spaces in that building,” said Dillon.
For example, the number of kindergartners enrolled at the school has been increasing consistently. The elementary school serving students from the second through fourth grade is at full capacity, even though the school is expected to grow even more next year. Four or five classes in the upper elementary school are being used for high school students, because the high school is over capacity.
The district says it’s looking for land that will ensure a safe and secure learning environment for faculty, staff and students.
“We want to find a piece of land that will provide a safe place to house a school and to have the room that’s needed for playgrounds and all the things that are essential for an effective school,” said Dillon.
The land they are searching for will likely be used to build an elementary school.
Dillon said there is no timeline in play for the expansion, but they are in phase one of finding that ideal location.
“The initial stage is to purchase the land. Again, to have those conversations with the community, with our key stakeholders across this great community, and from there, developing a time frame that’s in the best interest of our district and our community and of course for our students,” said Dillon.