Posted: May 15, 2012 10:27 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
BATON ROUGE- The voices against a breakaway school district in Baton Rouge are getting louder.
People opposed say there's a lack of information about the move. Now they're trying to push-back against the breakaway before it's too late.
The group One Community, One School District is calling on parents to ask questions, contact lawmakers and know the consequences of a separate Southeast Baton Rouge School District.
One Community, One School District member Hannah Wilems said, "We think that sets a dangerous precedent for after this pull out district, with this to be successful, we think there will be more, and we just don't think that carving up the parish into more and more smaller districts is sustainable."
Tuesday night, a group of 50-plus met with concerns about the effort to create a new, independent school district in the Southeast section of East Baton Rouge Parish. Their number one fear is not knowing enough.
Parent Todd McCoy said, "It's rushed and ill-thought out, at best, and I've asked for specifics for a plan to, not just financial but what the curriculum's going to be, what are the qualifications for teacher's being hired and retained, more importantly why do they feel like it has to only apply to a portion of Baton Rouge."
"What they're doing is going to financially cripple East Baton Rouge Parish," said group member Belinda Davis, "And what they've done in the appropriations committee is finally give us a set of amendments to the bill that is like putting a band-aid on an amputation."
But Local Schools for Local Children, the group working the breakaway district through the State Capitol, says it has addressed every concern, and then some.
Spokesman Lionel Rainey III said, "Now its not about money anymore, we've answered that question, its not about race, we now know, from East Baton Rouge's own numbers, it's over 50% minority, so now what it's about is power and control, and these children are being used as pawns in this game and that's really unfortunate."
Even if this grassroots effort isn't enough, the parents behind it will keep their fight up parish-wide and likely take it beyond.
Wilems said, "We feel like if people, both in the district, the proposed district, and outside of the district, have some time to think about this, that they'll realize they need more time and more information to make an informed decision."
The bill to create the Southeast Baton Rouge School District is expected to be considered on the House floor next week. If it passes, voters across the state will weigh-in on November ballots.