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Reopening of Istrouma High School could be delayed

1 year 1 month 3 weeks ago January 25, 2016 Jan 25, 2016 Monday, January 25 2016 January 25, 2016 6:56 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - There could be a delay in the reopening of Istrouma High School after the school board encountered a snag trying to regain control of the school from the state and the Recovery School District.

School board members are hoping to open the north Baton Rouge school in August of 2016. The school shut down in 2014 due to declining enrollment and lack of funding.

Dr. Jacqueline Mims was one of the school board members who got a first hand look at the school on Monday. She's currently serving in the interim for Tarvald Smith until the special election. However, she's been living in the district for most of her life, and Istrouma High is more than just a school to her. Two of her children graduated from the school.  

"We labored for Istrouma High," said Dr. Mims as she thinks about the moments she volunteered at the school.

From books to computers, most of the school items in Istrouma High have been sitting unused, and they may sit longer. A deal to turn over the school to the East Baton Rouge School Board took longer to execute.

"RSD (Recovery School District) and the state didn't sign it until January and that's problematic for us to able to open it in August," said Superintendent Warren Drake.

However, that's not the only problem. The superintendent said multiple systems like the electric, plumbing and air conditioning systems need to be replaced. School board officials are expecting repairs to cost about $10 million.

"The school was without any electricity for months and months, so we need to make sure there's no mold and there are no problems in here," said EBR Superintendent Drake.

There's a lot of pride in this school and the superintendent just wants to bring it back into this community to give those in the 70805 area not only a school that they need, but deserve.

For Dr. Mims, she said the school is more than just a building but will soon have a positive impact on this community.

"We have been tagged as the highest crime area and i dont think people truly understand the connection between education and poverty," said Dr. Mims.

The superintendent said despite the possible push back of the school opening. You can expect to see construction soon. He also said this weekend EBR School Board members will meet to discuss academic programs they plan to implement at the school. 

Istrouma was taken over by the state in 2012 and run by the Recovery School District.

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