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.

9 comments

  • LEN82

    The resolution wasn’t just about the breaking up of OBHS but also about the removal of personnel that were not only the BEST qualified but people who love OB and support it 100%. No one could ever be more devoted to OBHS students and community. This wasn’t just their jobs but also their home. OB is a family and this irritates some people…..It’s time to let go of decades old grudges and reinstate our staff!

  • Confused?

    What is the Superintendent talking about? There was no vote. He doesn’t know what parents want. I can assure you there are plenty of people that would like to see Olive Branch residents go to an Olive Branch school instead of wasting tax payer money bussing them to Southaven. Desoto Cetral added on to their school so that they could accommodate kids who live in OB and OB already had the added rooms that are sitting empty. Talk about wasting money. Not needed!!! Just send OB residents to OB schools.

  • LEN82

    MK has operated with impunity for years. Proud of Mayor Phillips and the aldermen for standing up for OB. The school board with new leadership needs to stand with OB city leaders and have OBHS principal and state winning head coach reinstated. The recent bad press over the mistaken ‘gang sign’ fiasco is just one example of why we need them.

  • Guy Loftin

    Kuykendall has been drawing state retirement and a salary from the DCS system for several years now, the old “double dipping” into the taxpayers that feed you scheme. While legal it is still unethical and irresponslble to the people that trusted you. It is time for him to permantely retire and let someone that kmows how to do the job take over. He was underqualified for the job when first elected and has proven to be a slow learner in the OJT [on the job trainning] after getting the job. It is past time for him to go and let someone more qualified take over.

  • Jamie

    Sorry but as someone that lives “in the city limits” but does not go to OB schools, I wouldn’t want to change, my kids are happy at Center Hill. I bought my house, did my research and CHOSE where I wanted my kids to go to school, I don’t think it should be changed after the fact. The majority of people that are in the same situation I believe would say the same. And no, it’s not a matter of moving, since we consider our schools part of the Olive Branch community and this is like a slap in the face. Our schools do have an Olive Branch Address.

  • LEN82

    This is about a LOT more than the breaking up of OBHS and no one wants done to them what we had done to us (forced to leave). This is about the lack of county administration’s involvement, among other things, with OBHS or the community of OB unless it is in a negative context. The recent arbitrary decisions that were made without anyone to answer to was not what we needed. If you’re happy where you are then congratulations! Good for you. We didn’t think we should have to change after the fact either.

  • JL

    I live in Olive Branch. I want my kids in OB schools. My kids do not need to be bused all the way to Desoto Central for middle school and high school when the OB middle school and high school are closer. Its common sense. I know most politicians and officials lack common sense though…….

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