Posted: Jul 18, 2011 10:54 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Jul 18, 2011 10:54 PM
BATON ROUGE- Threats of breaking off and creating a new school district in Baton Rouge forced change to the system's busing plan.
Monday night, the district revealed a transportation plan for gifted and talented students that was a compromise between the district and parents.
Those parents started complaining about long bus routes and the district transfer point when the district, in an effort to save money, got rid of several under-utilized direct routes from the students' homes to their schools.
The parents then started looking into forming a new school district in South Baton Rouge. However, the peace offering Monday night has halted that effort, somewhat, for now.
The pilot program presented is for the Buchanan Elementary gifted and talented program students. Instead of having them bused to the transfer point early in the morning, and then to school a while later, the plan calls for parents to drop their students off at the neighborhood school, where a bus will pick them up and take them straight to school.
The transportation director says that saves far more than the previous plan.
School Board Member Connie Bernard says it's a win-win for everyone involved.
"I think once we get it all put together that we're going to be able to do the right thing for our students and the best thing for our students," she said.
Most parents say the compromise was more than they expected, but not perfect.
Raj Iney said, "I think we're getting there, I think we're a whole lot better than the transfer being the only solution."
"I think we're probably taking a step in the right direction, but we need more time," said Ashley Thibodeaux.
"If there's a better way to do it, I'm sure it may be, than we'll determine what that is, but we have to start somewhere," said Superintendent John Dilworth.
And those almost ready to leave the district are staying put, for now, since administrators are on-board with parents' ideas.
"I think these types of forums are probably a good start at changing the culture and perception, if you will," said Craig Harvey.
Thursday, the board will be briefed on the final plan, which may or may not include suggestions from the Monday night meeting.
The district will try to organize neighborhood meetings where these changes will take effect before the start of school on August 10.