PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Oscar Patterson Elementary School could be reopening, as Bay District School Board members will discuss the idea at Tuesday’s meeting.
Superintendent Bill Husfelt has recommended to move forward with reopening the school, after it was mothballed following Hurricane Michael.
For several community leaders, it’s a no brainer.
“Whether or not they’re going to reopen should not be a question,” said Student Advocate, Greg Dossie. “Not only do we want reopening, we want funding put behind it.”
Dossie is on the school’s oversight committee along with others like Dr. Rufus Wood of the Bay County Branch of the NAACP.
“This school is very important in this community,” said Dr. Wood. “What we really want from the Superintendent and the school board members, we want them to invest in this school.”
School Board member Pamm Chapman said reopening Oscar Patterson is needed to accommodate students as housing comes back to the area.
“Right now the other schools that house them are kind of getting at-capacity,” Chapman explained. “We see that when those come back online we’re going to need to open it back up.”
On Monday, oversight committee member Myron Hines said Oscar Patterson should come back properly, with resources dedicated to its success.
“All we ask is a clear and precise, how we open, when we open and how are we going to fund it,” Hines said.
Dossie and Wood said they would like for more financial, human and technological resources aimed at the success of Oscar Patterson and the students attending the school.
“That is what it would take for our children to excel and to maximize their full potential,” Wood said.
If reopened, Husfelt has recommended it do so as a K-2 school in 2022, adding a grade level each year until K-5 status is achieved.