CPSB committee recommends closing Reynaud, Ralph Wilson

By By Kara Carrier / American Press

In a heated and emotional meeting Tuesday night, the Calcasieu Parish School Board budget committee voted to propose closing

two schools — Reynaud Middle and Ralph Wilson Elementary. The full board will vote on the plan at its next meeting on Jan.

14.

The recommendation is part of the committee’s effort to tackle a $10 million deficit expected for the 2014-15 school year.

Board members Clara Duhon, Fred Hardy and Roman Thompson voted against the recommendation.

If the School Board approves the motion, the 155 students at Reynaud would be transferred to Molo Middle; the 199 students

at Wilson would go to J.D. Clifton and J.J. Johnson elementary schools.

Karl Bruchhaus, school system CFO, said years of declining enrollment and low school performance were major factors in the

recommendation.

“If the full board confirms the actions

of the committee, staff will bring forward a detailed plan on how to

handle those

school consolidations as far as which children will attend each

school and what the plan will be for the employees to be placed

throughout the system,” he said.

Bruchhaus said the school system typically hires about 150 teachers a year, so there should be enough vacant positions for

staff and faculty displaced by the closures.

Reynaud now employees about 27 faculty and staff, and Wilson employees about 20. The closures would reportedly save the board

$1,496,195 and $836,851.

The committee chose not to recommend closing T.H. Watkins Elementary after many parents, teachers and administrators from

the school spoke in favor of keeping it open.

“It’s a multi-step process,” Bruchhaus said. “As we chip away at it and as long as we’re making progress toward the $10 million,

we are glad to keep moving forward.”