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Truancy Center opening delayed by paperwork

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Posted: Aug 10, 2011 5:20 PM by Sarah Rosario
Updated: Aug 10, 2011 5:20 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: New truancy center in baton rouge, truancy center delays opening, Hillar moore, east baton rouge schools, truant numbers in EBR, former Louisiana school for the visually impaired.

BATON ROUGE - A truancy center in Baton Rouge won't open anytime soon.

It's been in the works for two and half years and was originally slated to open today, but authorities said they knew months ago that wasn't going to happen.

"It's not that people aren't agreeing on anything, it's a big piece a property and there are a lot of things that need to be considered," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

The property is the old Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired on Government Street, which was taken over by the state. Moore said there's still quite a bit of paperwork left to be signed before the school system can move in.

"First we're waiting on the school board to say we agree, we're going to take it; because I have agreed, the sheriff has agreed, and the mayor's office has agreed," he said.

Each entity split the startup cost of $400,000 to make sure the program happens. Once approved, the building will be called the Family Youth and Services Center. It will not only be a place for truant kids, but it will also be a place that the school system can use to help troubled parents and children with issues

The plan is to target certain areas, one of them is Brookstown. People there said there's a problem with kids skipping school and hanging out on the streets.

"You have killings for nothing, it's pathetic, and it's all kids that are doing it," said Brookstown resident Cedric Franklin.

Other residents like Katrina Thomas said the problem with truant kids begins with parents. She's grateful the government has stepped in to help. With more than 4,000 truant students last year, Hillar Moore said it's hard for law enforcement to police it alone.

"If everyone took care of their own home, their own children, their own family, we wouldn't be in this problem," said Moore.

The goal now is to open the center by the first of the year. A school board committee will look over the plan tonight. A final vote won't happen until the full board meets August 18th.

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