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This article was written by a group of DCS Employees that asked to remain anonymous.

Tyler Perry could have based his new television show “The Haves and the Have Nots” on DeSoto County Schools. Henceforth in this article they will be referred to as The Haves (Lewisburg, Center Hill, DeSoto Central and Hernando) and the Have Nots (Southaven, Horn Lake, Olive Branch and Walls). There are special rules at the Central Office for these areas. The Haves can ask for anything and it will be granted. The Have Nots know better than to ask for anything. Recent developments at the Central Office prove this theory.
1. Overcrowding in the Southaven and Horn Lake area is apparent. Southaven Elementary was told they would add new classrooms this summer. They were passed over for additions to Hernando Elementary and Hernando Hills. Both of these schools have less students than Southaven Elementary.
2. New construction is always in the Haves area and there are many empty classrooms in these schools. The Have Nots use bookrooms, utility rooms, and trailers (Yes there are still trailers in DeSoto County Schools) The only solution for overcrowding in the Have Not area is redrawing the lines and forcing your child to go to a school in another Have Not area.
3. Pre-schools for disadvantaged students in the Have Not Area are desperately needed but are passed over for preschools that are designed for the Haves. A lot of them are funded in part with special education funds but the majority of the students in these programs are not sped students or disadvantaged in any way. In fact a large portion are children of DeSoto County School employees.
4. Many changes have been made regarding new placements for assistant principals. Most of these have occurred at the Have Not schools. None of these employees wanted to leave their current schools and the students and staff at these schools are devastated. You must understand that certain rules apply when moving personnel in DeSoto County Schools. Have Nots can only be transferred between Have not schools and Haves are only transferred between Have schools. Very few exceptions.
5. New teacher hires are assessed at the Central Office. If there are exceptional candidates they make phone calls to administrators of the Haves and give them first choice. Sometimes great candidates have student loans and need to work at a Have not school to pay these off. They are placed there for the time period it takes to pay off the loan then they can move to the Haves. There are many great teachers in the Have Not area but that is because the administrators at these schools have creative ways of finding them.
6. You may say, Thank God for the Federal government who realize that the Have Nots need more resources than the Haves and they attempt to close the gap by providing much needed resources for the Have Nots in the way of Title funds. Last year the Central Office figured out how to take this money from the Have Nots to distribute some of it to the Haves. This year they figured out a way to take even more. The Have Nots had their funds cut in half over the last two years. This is money needed desperately to fund their summer school and after school programs. The Have Nots can no longer provide these programs thanks to the Central office. At the rate they are going they will figure out how to take all of the money from these schools.

The Central Office expect the parents of the Have Not areas to not question the School Board and as long as they do not question them this practice will continue. The future of your children depend on your involvement.

1. Demand to see the budgets for the Title I schools. Compare how the budgets have dwindled over the past 3 years.
2. Demand to know why they are moving the personnel from your schools.
3. If pre-schools are important enough for the Central Office to provide them for teacher’s children then it is vital for the children in depressed areas and you must demand them.
4. Demand buildings large enough to house the students in your area if they have the budget for other areas.
5. Demand equal opportunities for ALL students.

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10 thoughts on ““The Haves and Have Nots” of DeSoto County Schools

  1. I hate to say it, but for last 3-4 years this has been true. I taught at WES for 37 years. Love the school and staff. They love the children in that area. The decision to move Dr. Haslip was a blow to our school. He is brilliant and made great changes to that school. Now our Title 1 funds have been taken away.

  2. As a student teacher, in the past two years, at several Desoto County schools, I can give a very unbiased, true opinion. This article is, sadly, very true. I’ve been to a have school in Hernando and a have not school in the Horn Lake- Walls area.
    I was absolutely miserable with miserable teachers in the hernando school and felt like I had a second family at the “have not” school. These teachers care for their students and strive to reach out to the “have nots” in our community unlike the “have schools” who don’t face this overwhelming challenge.

    Desoto County has a great reputation they must uphold. Unfortunately, they do not like anyone(administrators, staff, students, parents) challenging their authority and only have their best interests in mind, not their students.

    Desoto county is in trouble if they cannot blur this line. The communities of Southaven, Horn Lake, and Walls will be in a vicious cycle of failing, drop out students. Desoto County is too close to Memphis City to not be more aware of this issue. The whole county will become a “have not” in the next 10 years.

    sincerely,
    Not teaching in Mississippi

    • I truly hate that it is this way!!! As a now former Realtor but Realtor for the past decade, I understand whole heartedly the impact that the schools have on communities. I understand that neighboring cities or towns greatly impact each other. When one fails, it is only a matter of time before the next one does. Even the precious Lewisburg area will fall apart if the rest of the city of Olive Branch and neighboring Southaven decline. People always want to move on to the next, “newest” and “better” thing. The DCS school system is not broken though. The Administration is broken. In order for us to achieve success, we have to get rid of the people at the top. The It is frustrating and overwhelming to think our children’s futures and the success or failure of our county rests in the hands of certain individuals. We will continue to do all we can to make a change. We want the mindset to be that WE CAN DO THIS and not the mindset of things will never change!

  3. Please use caution as you continue to hammer away on the “have not” vs “have”. While I understand the point you are trying to make, instead of pointing out the fault of the administration as you seem to intend, you are setting up an “us vs. them” mentality within the school district itself and BETWEEN the schools, teachers and students of these schools.

    Are the efforts of the “have” teachers less? Do the students have to work less than the “have not”s to earn the national honors they do? I would highly question anyone who actually believes that.

    I teach at a school defined by all of this as a “have”, and I have friends that teach in both the “have” and “have not” areas that keep getting hammered. All of these individuals work very hard to be the best teachers they can be, and the repeated insults towards the “have”s only belittles the very people you claim to be supporting: the teachers and students. While I am certain it’s not intended, it feels very much like there is ire aimed at the “have” schools, all while saying it’s not the fault of those teachers or students. If you truly believe that, please stop the labeling and the snide comments.

    You are only belaboring the point you try to make by alienating and insulting some of the people you also say you love and support. Unless you truly only care about the students and teachers in schools you’ve deemed “have not”s. I sincerely hope that is not the case.

    • We did not write the Haves and Have Nots. That came from your co-workers or associates at DCS. They already feel that way because every bit of it is true. Our intentions are 100% true blue. There should not be such a huge discrepancy between schools. There should not be money taken from Title Funds for the Title 1 Schools and used for the more affluent schools. It is disheartening to your associates that you guys do not stick together to support one another. The teachers in the “Have Not” schools are some of the very best!!! Everyone lives in their little bubble though. They only worry about what happens to them in their own little world. The district built schools we did not need and in areas that we did not need them. How do you think Southaven feels about the fact they have considerably more people and students than Olive Branch yet OB has 3.5 High Schools to Southaven’s 1.5 high schools. Walls, Southaven and Horn Lake have typically less SPED staff, ELL, etc. even though they have larger numbers of those students in their schools. Do those teachers all get the benefits of the preschools for teachers children? You need to ask your friends in those schools how they feel. So far, I haven’t met one that denied it or wasn’t happy that others notice what they have known all along.

      None of this is a reflection of the teachers and students. The teachers and students in what they call the HAVES just have more resources and money to educate the kids with. And sometimes the teachers in the HAVE NOT schools DO have to work harder than the other teachers. Their students come from low income families and have even less involved parents. A lot of those schools don’t even have Christmas parties and their kids don’t get gifts at home. You need to tour those schools and talk to a lot of the staff in those schools. I think if you do that, you will see this is not intended to insult those that are successful or have what they need. It is to bring awareness to those that don’t know. It is to get teachers to support one another and fight for everyone. Ignorance is bliss, but those schools, teachers and kids deserve to receive an equal education and have the same resources made available to them. The successful teachers and kids at the HAVE schools are doing fine. It is the others that need the help. But as a side note, I happen to know that there are many teachers at one of the HAVE schools that say they are miserable. They say they are forced to pass classes of kids that are not ready to move forward. After all, it has been documented that MDE has doctored the numbers for our schools. Things aren’t always what they say they are.

      • I’m well aware of who wrote the original letter. I was referring to your continuing of the divisive language. I am also very aware of how teachers across the county feel.

        You greatly overestimate the power the teachers have to change things. That power lies primarily with the rest of the people in the county as voters and activists. Teachers who vocally slam their bosses are easily replaced, because even the “have nots” of our county are considered “haves” to the rest of the state, and we are all made very aware of that.

        As I said, I understand your intentions. I was just asking for more discretion in the way you go about it, so as to not stir up more dissension between the teachers and students of these schools. At the end of the day, it’s not their faults.

  4. Parents of Walls Elementary students,

    The Desoto County school board has made a staff Change. As of Now DR. H our assistant principal has been moved to another school. Our school is in serious need of DR. H and his many talents. He is very well versed in many areas, is a strong asset, and truly cares about the kids. Walls Elementary has not been as fortunate as some schools who has state of the art cutting edge technology! However Mrs. Kelly and Dr. H. have not missed a step in implementing common core and ensuring every child’s needs has been met so they can succeed!

    Please call County Office & let them know that you aren’t happy with Dr H being moved. Please let them know Dr. H. is a strong and valuable asset need at Walls Elementary!

    I know first hand Dr. H. truly cares that our children succeed. At the end of last year he really took the time to hear me and my concerns with my daughter. He went over and beyond to get some help for her. He ensured a good course of action was implemented for her success. Walls has a high number of students with Special needs & we need someone with a strong knowledge to make sure they are successful.

    Please call Desoto Office and help keep our school on the right track!

    Loretta Barnett

  5. If I read right, the authors believe there are empty classrooms at DeSoto Central High School? I know first hand that if not correct — DCHS is bursting at the seams.

    I’m not saying that OB, Southaven, and Horn Lake are not having problems. I’m just saying that things aren’t as rosy at the other schools as some may think.

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