Olive Branch Resolution Causes School Concerns

(Olive Branch, MS) A resolution from Olive Branch leaders set off fireworks in DeSoto County.

It says DeSoto County School practices have divided the town and that the city hasn’t received a fair return on its investment.

Mayor Scott Phillips says aldermen feel as if the school board doesn’t listen to their needs.

“It seems like the door has been closed for Olive Branch and we just want to open that door.”

Some say they believe the replacement of a principal and football coach at Olive Branch High triggered the resolution

”I don’t speak for the politicians, but I can speak for the parents,” superintendent Milton Kuykendall said, referring to parents who want school boundaries where they are.

Olive Branch students are currently divided among DeSoto Central and Center Hill schools, as well as Olive Branch.

“All of these students, if you give ‘em a choice, none of ‘em are gonna go back. Ninety-five percent of ‘em are happy where they are,” said Kuykendall.

He says last year’s proposed redistricting would have put more Olive Branch students in the city’s high School, but parents overwhelmingly rejected the plan.

Both sides agree Olive Branch High used to have more students than it has now, and both agree they want to better utilize the space.

But school leaders believe the area’s fast growth will take care of that, eventually.

Mayor Phillips wants to smooth things out now.

“I want to get together and work this out. This is a positive thing. It’s not meant to be negative.”

“I think they jumped off into something before they really checked it out,” countered Kuykendall.

Mayor Phillips says the resolution in no way indicates Olive Branch wants to start its own schools.

“We’ve been sitting on the sidelines for a couple of years not watching up north and seeing how that goes, and we really don’t want to get into that mess. All we’re saying is, we’re here and want to be heard.”

Apparently, it worked.

A few days later, school board members elected former Mayor Milton Nichols as their new president.


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