(American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:48 PM
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.”
Posted By: Brenda Robinson On: 12/21/2013
Cuts are often made at the bottom---hurting the children, why shouldn't the cuts be made at the TOP---Central Office---where the top salaries are. School closures will only bring in pennies on the dollar. Streamline Central Office!!!
Posted By: Doug On: 12/20/2013
Title: Save These Schools!!!
I am sick and tired of racist attitudes shutting down our schools!!! Closing schools in neighborhoods where they are needed the most is the dumbest thing so-called educators/authorities can do. The African-American Community MUST do everything humanly possible to save these schools from the fates suffered by W.O.Boston H.S., Washington H.S., and Sacred Heart H.S.. It was really with the demise of our beloved aforementioned schools that our education community began to spiral downward.
Posted By: Once a Student On: 12/19/2013
Title: Save Ralph Wilson Elementary School
I attended Ralph Wilson when it first open being tranferred there from the histroical Jackson Street/First Ward School.
Come on Parents, Teachers, Administrators and Community. Rally and Keep this school open. What's so special about T.H. Watkins. Go figure.
Posted By: Doug On: 12/18/2013
Title: Dumb!! Dumb!! Dumb!!
Decisions to close schools in areas where they are needed most are just the dumbest that authoritative bodies can make, bar none.