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Zachary schools "flip-flop" on vouchers

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Posted: May 8, 2012 6:14 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: May 8, 2012 6:32 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Zachary, schools, voucher, grades

ZACHARY - Zachary's independent school system changed their minds on whether to allow students with vouchers from failing schools. Superintendent Warren Drake's final answer is "no."

Back in April, the schools voted to allow thirty students from schools with failing scores. That would mean fifteen kindergartners and fifteen first graders. Those students, Drake said, would be the only ones allowed in, and would stay with Zachary schools until graduation. They were slated to attend Rollins Elementary and Northwestern Elementary.

But after the schools' decision to allow students, Drake says he got "lots" of comments from parents.

Many of those parents agreed with Donna Stewart, who believes Zachary's already-high property taxes should only pay for kids who live there.

"Our property taxes in Zachary are already expensive enough, and we're already paying for our own kids, and I just don't think it would be fair that we would be paying for students in other areas," Stewart said.

Drake listened to the parents in Zachary and changed his mind, citing funding as one main issue.

"If we add 30 students, then we add another teacher, and another teacher is $50,000 to $60,000, so it boils down to a financial situation," Drake told News 2.

Drake's other concerns were larger classroom sizes and a growing "to-do" list of achievements for teachers.

Many parents News 2 spoke with agree with Drake's decision, but they believe the schools should have thought before making both calls.

"I think it was kind of a foolish move," Rise Cannon said. "They should've just weighted it all out before they started, and now it kinda makes them look like egg on their face."

Drake does not plan to rule out allowing students from failing schools, but if he does allow them in, he says it will be "a few years."

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