Gulf Shores schools opening to out-of-district students, start d - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Gulf Shores schools opening to out-of-district students, start date uncertain

Photo: City of Gulf Shores. Photo: City of Gulf Shores.
GULF SHORES, AL (WALA) -

Big education news for some folks in Baldwin County. The newly formed Gulf Shores School Board announced "out of district" students who are in the feeder pattern, will be allowed to go to Gulf Shores Schools.

That's of course, once they officially split from the Baldwin County School System, which hasn't happened yet. A start date for the new school system is still unknown.

Leaders on both sides say they made headway Thursday afternoon during another closed door meeting to discuss the split. Gulf Shores seems pretty confident about starting in the Fall, after making that big announcement at their regular board meeting Thursday night. But Baldwin County wants to hold off until 2019.

Baldwin County Public Schools Superintendent Eddie Tyler and Gulf Shores School Board President Kevin Corcoran, both say they are "making progress" towards figuring out if Gulf Shores schools will be ready this year. Thursday was the third time both groups met about the separation. The details of their meetings, though, are under wraps.

"I think right now, we're gonna keep that among ourselves, until we can make some traction," said Tyler.

Sitting with the Gulf Shores School Board at their meeting Thursday night, was the interim superintendent for Gulf Shores, Suzanne Freeman. She is also helping with negotiations, also pushing to start in the Fall.

"It is realistic to start then, we have accomplished many things already, we have a lot of things in the works to take place," said Freeman.

Now, even before the official separation, the Gulf Shores School Board has already decided to open schools to out of district students. For example, students who live out of city limits, such as Ft. Morgan or Ono Island, can go to Gulf Shores schools for free. Some parents at the board meeting liked that idea.

"I thought that was a great option for them because I know a lot of the parents in other areas have been concerned about where their kids are going to school and what's going to happen," said parent Jessica Sanders. She also said she's fine with the school board not knowing a start date. 

Jason Stephenson, parent of an elementary schooler, agrees. 

"The questions I have quite frankly will get answered in time, and the results that they produce will probably be better than I imagine."

Although most parents at the meeting aren't too worried about the uncertain start date, some teachers were. Quite a few of them were also at the meeting and had questions for the school board.

One of the next steps is for Gulf Shores to pick a permanent superintendent. The board started their search this week. They're asking residents in Gulf Shores to give their input. You can take the survey here.

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