The City of Orange Beach is considering splitting away from the Baldwin County School System to create a school district of its own.
After a second of many community meetings was held Thursday morning, February 6, many parents said they’re excited about a possible new future for their kids.
“I’m excited that I took the time to come. I’m impressed by what they’ve put together so far,” said Summer Franco, a parent of a soon-to-be Orange Beach Elementary student, “I’m interested to see what the studies bring forth, and what the feasibility for this school system is.”
Franco said Thursday’s meeting helped her to get a better grasp on the potential new school system. She said she’s optimistic about her kids’ educational future in Orange Beach.
“From what I’ve understood here is that we will have a better opportunity to go out and recruit teachers that can really provide something special and individualized to the children to help them excel as their life goes on,” she says.
But BCSS officials said they are already providing an excellent education for students across the county, and they hope parents will see that when voting on the split.
“We have always advocated that we’re better together, and our district is headed toward world class education,” says Terry Wilhite with BCSS, “It’s hard to imagine that taxpayers on the island would want to fund and pay for additional things that they’re already getting.”
Newcomers to the area say they are happy with the current schools, but they like the idea of Orange Beach going solo.
“We’re new here, we’ve only lived here for about a year, and one of the reasons we moved here was for the schools, so we’re happy to be here,” says Bart Bailey a new Orange Beach resident and parent.
Currently, Orange Beach only has an elementary school, so Orange Beach students would have to go back to Baldwin County Schools once they’re older. But, the city council says that it is considering creating a K-12 option, if they did make the split. That’s something many parents tell FOX10 they’re excited about.
“From day one they want to build K-12, start that school, so yes my children will never have to go to Gulf Shores, they can stay here and I can drive them to school in three and a half minutes,” says Christa Newton, a mother of three in Orange Beach, “I’ll know that they’re right here if I need them, if something happens. I think all parents want to be near their children while they’re at school, they shouldn’t have to send them to another city.”