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Community weighs in on failed school district split

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BATON ROUGE-  A breakaway school district will get another chance Thursday.

A vote failed on the proposed Southeast Baton Rouge District at the State Capitol Wednesday, but News 2 has learned it's been added to Thursday's agenda.

Two laws had to pass to get the new district off the ground.  One has, but the other, a required constitutional amendment that you have to vote on, lost by four votes in the House.  It can be voted on one more time before the session ends Monday.

But following Wednesday's failure, many parents say they'd like to get together with East Baton Rouge schools and make amends.

East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Interim Superintendent Carlos Sam said, "We're going to work very closely with the Woodlawn community, and that particular area of town, to make sure that we meet the needs of all the kids, the students, the parents."

Parents who questioned the split say they'll back up EBR in that effort.

"Try to get the 'Local Schools for Local Children' group to come and work with us on how to help East Baton Rouge Parish do a better job where they're lacking," said parent Belinda Davis, "They have a lot of great things in East Baton Rouge Parish, but that doesn't mean we don't have room for improvement."

But those who support a new school system say they still think a new start is what's best for children in the 10 schools on the Southeast side of town.

"They just don't feel like until they're able to have a lot more input and take control and have a lot more input in their schools that they'll be satisfied," said State Senator Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge.

But one of those parents says the progress made so far needs to be put toward anything, new district or not, that will improve education in East Baton Rouge Parish.

"As a parent, this is the most that I've ever been able to participate in determining my children's future and education," said parent Melicent Lester, "I'm hoping that this empowers people to say, well, maybe even if we don't start all over, maybe we can make a step forward."

One parent group, in the South Baton Rouge area, that spawned its own breakaway talk, says it'd still like to see a new district created.  If this current effort fails again Thursday, those parents say they'll reach out to the Southeast Baton Rouge group to put a plan together for next year.


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