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EBR School Board to consider resolution opposing plan that could create new St. George district

1 month 8 hours 25 minutes ago Wednesday, April 24 2024 Apr 24, 2024 April 24, 2024 3:00 PM April 24, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Four East Baton Rouge School Board members have drafted a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it easier to create new public school districts, such as the one suggested in the St. George area of the parish.

The school board, consisting of nine members, is set to consider the resolution at its Thursday meeting. Mike Gaudet, Dadrius Lanus, Cliff Lewis and Shashonnie Steward developed the resolution; none represent the area that would become the new school district. Gaudet is a Republican, while the other backers of the resolution are Democrats.

The legislation, HB6, would set a statewide vote this fall on what could ultimately permit the creation of a new district in an area that largely corresponds to the long-proposed City of St. George. As it stands now, new districts need to be tied to municipalities — such as how Central opened a separate district in 2007.

"If this constitutional amendment succeeds, school districts state-wide could be created and/or existing districts redrawn solely by a majority vote the Legislature and signature of the Governor, without any vote by the impacted local parents and tax paying citizens," the resolution says.

The new district's boundaries would be carved out of the existing East Baton Rouge Parish School District, starting at the I-10/I-12 split and extending eastward on I-12 and southeastward on I-10 to the Livingston and Ascension parish lines. All areas inside the triangle would part of the new district.

These existing schools could become a part of the new district if HB6 passes and voters approve the change:

    - Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary School

    - Jefferson Terrace Academy

    - Parkview Elementary School

    - Shenandoah Elementary School

    - Southeast Middle School

    - Wedgewood Elementary School

    - Westminster Elementary School

    - Woodlawn Elementary School

    - Woodlawn Middle School

    - Woodlawn High School

The proposed resolution against HB6 says students and families living in the Southeast Baton Rouge Community School District would lose access to the parish's magnet schools and other educational resources currently available to them.

It also says that the new district would bypass the standard voting procedures that created other breakaway districts in Baker, Central and Zachary.

Lawmakers approved the Southeast Baton Rouge Community School District in 2013 but never funded it. If approved at all steps, the new district could begin operating for the 2025-26 school year.

HB6 came up for consideration two times over the past week, most recently on Tuesday, in the state House of Representatives but was not voted on. The bill has been returned to the calendar for consideration at a later date.

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