Dale Henderson, superintendent for Iberia Parish schools, says two bond renewals in the last four years are making parish schools safer and could prevent another tragedy, like Sandy Hook Elementary.
“It's important to look at what's happened in other places and to try to make what we do and what others do better every single day,” says Superintendent Henderson.
Henderson says every school in the district has an electronic locking system for doors in its lobby; paid for by a $60 million bond renewal in 2009. He says that bond renewal also paid for security cameras in every high school and middle school in the district, and the latest bond renewal in October will pay for security cameras in every elementary school in the district.
“About 30 to 35 cameras very strategically placed throughout the facility, where the principal can monitor what goes on inside the facility 24/7. The technology is even there to monitor the facility from home,” says Henderson.
The latest bond renewal is worth $50 million—nearly $2.5 million will go towards security cameras and another $5 million will go towards new technology for computer-based PARCC testing, which Loreauville Elementary has already received.
“We give something called measured progress, which are mock tests that we give periodically throughout the year and the students are practicing on those as we speak,” says Loreauville Elementary Principal Gannon Dooley.
Loreauville Elementary is the newest school in the district, opening in February, but won't be for long. Another $13 million of the bond money is going towards a new elementary school on the north side of New Iberia.
“We have three elementary schools in our district that have total enrollment of about 1,600 students. We see those schools' enrollments increasing,” says Henderson.