Calcasieu school district bouncing back from hurricanes, COVID

The Calcasieu Parish school district is “28,000 students strong,” according to CPSB Superintendent Shannon LaFargue.

On Thursday, he spoke at the Republican Women of Southwest Louisiana’s monthly luncheon to discuss the current state of the Calcasieu Parish school system.

For the past three years, CPSB has been up in enrollment despite the past devastation in the SWLA community. LaGargue said that the greatest disruptor was the hurricanes of 2020.

“It wasn’t COVID that did it to us, but it was that Laura, and then Delta.”

The district lost 5000 students during that time due to displacement, but as local housing and infrastructure improved, teachers returned and schools “came back online,” CPSB has gained 2000 students back. This growth is necessary for the district to receive adequate Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) – the formula used to calculate the amount of funding distributed to school districts – from the state of Louisiana.

CPSB encourages teachers, faculty and staff to maintain optimistic outlooks to not only drive growth and development within the district but also to ensure the well-being of students, he said.

“It’s so easy in today’s world to be negative and cynical. So, if we walk in the threshold of school doors, and have that cynicism and that negativity with us, kids pick that up.”

He cited poor mental health as the greatest hurdle that students and adults are currently facing.

“You see these tragedies throughout the country, and God forbid anything like that happen in Southwest Louisiana.”

The safety and security of school campuses is CPSB’s first priority. LaFargue recounted the steps that were taken after a series of school shootings in 2022 and 2023.

“After Uvalde, we awakened in the school system to possibilities that couldn’t happen here. We have to pay attention, we have to have the awareness. After Covenant in Nashville, it was time to take action. … Our safety and security team took the position of not on our watch. We’re going to do everything we can to the greatest extent possible.”

Since then, CPSB has taken aggressive steps to enhance school security. They received $518,355 from the LDOE Louisiana Stronger Connections Grant.

Those funds were used to fortify school exteriors with weapons detectors, shatterproof window film, radios for improved communication, weapon detection wands, and logistical fencing. Additionally, CPSB has expanded its security resource officer agreements with the Towns of Iowa and Vinton and the City of Westlake, and secured contracts with Stratigos Dynamics, Inc. to ensure there is security on every campus.

He said community partnerships are also a major component of CPSB’s day-to-day operations, including collaborations with McNeese State University, SOWELA Technical Community College and the City of Lake Charles. These partnerships bring community awareness to the district’s students and broaden their horizons, he said.

 

Local News

Jeff Davis Police Jury members vote to give themselves raises

Local News

Authorities trying to identify body found in shed

Local News

Area woman recipient of National Caregiver of Year Award

Local News

US 165 closure planned next week

Crime

1 of 2 abducted La. children found dead after mother killed

McNeese Sports

Schroyer named to national committees

Local News

17 state AGs sue Biden administration for allowing foreign farmworkers to unionize

Local News

Rounds of storms possible as tropical disturbance expected to move into Gulf

Local News

La. Supreme Court reverses ‘lookback window’ decision

life

Alligator Park closed due to high water

Business

Preserving the past: Ryan Street historic district could become reality

life

Juneteenth Freedom Festival: Family fun, fireworks, food and more in lineup for area’s 4-day celebration

Local News

Jennings City Council considering whether to increase salaries for mayor, council members

Local News

Contentious Iowa Council meeting ends with abrupt adjournment

life

Feel the Wheels at the Moss Bluff Library

Local News

NBA great Jerry West dies at 86

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Pet projects have long lives

Crime

Local man pleads guilty to 10 counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile

Local News

Student-run coffee company opens after a ‘latte’ collaboration

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Coushatta Pow Wow

Local News

I-10 bridge eastbound lane closed for emergency repairs

Crime

Attorney general: Speed enforcement cameras in Oberlin OK

Crime

BREAKING: Hunter Biden convicted on all 3 felony counts

Local News

Homeward-bound athletes: Return to resume college careers with fresh start