By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Members of the Board of Realtors asked the Picayune City Council to help work towards a better perception of Picayune schools.
Board of Realtors representative Tammy Valente addressed the council during Tuesday’s meeting to address some concerns their board has, particularly concerning how the negative perception of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District makes it hard to sell homes in the city. From her findings and dealings with potential customers, Valente found that once potential home owners check into the Picayune school district, they opt to buy a home in areas other than Picayune.
“They generally don’t choose this school district, they choose Hancock,” Valente said.
Four of the five homes she sells typically are sold outside of the city limits, she said. However, Valente did say there are other reasons for that trend than just the school district. She said lower taxes and larger lots found outside the city limits contribute to that decision.
Valente said she is not saying the district is bad, but there is a perception. However, she said that children from five of the seven families she knows in the Woods Subdivision attend private schools.
“To me that speaks volumes,” Valente said.
Valente said her own children are also enrolled in private schools.
With discussions about appointing a school board member taking place earlier in the council meeting, she asked the council to make good decisions on who fills those spots. By creating a better school district, a better community will follow, Valente said.
Mayor Ed Pinero Jr., said there is a direct correlation between academic excellence and economic development, and while the school district has many excellent teachers he said the community does need to be aware that their support will help enact change and improve the system. He said the school district also can learn some things from charter schools.
“If we allow flexibility (in curriculum) and put discipline back in the school system, I believe we will see change,” Pinero said.
Council member Larry Breland said while he can see advantages and disadvantages within the school district, a child’s instruction in respect and parental control begins at home.
Michelle Fradella, also a local Realtor, said she thinks if children are shown and taught respect then they would be less likely to break the law.