Update by The Advertiser:
About 200 students in south Lafayette Parish will change schools in August.
Under the new boundaries, around 110 students will move from Green T. Lindon Elementary to Katherine Drexel Elementary. About 70 students will switch from Youngsville Middle to Broussard Middle.
The Lafayette Parish School Board approved the changes Wednesday on a 6-3 vote, with board members Jeremy Hidalgo, Tehmi Chassion and Justin Centanni voting against it.
Superintendent Donald Aguillard said the shifts were necessary because of the severe overcrowding at Green T. Lindon and Youngsville Middle. Assistant Superintendent Sandra Billeaudeau said Broussard Middle and Katherine Drexel have less than 600 students each, but can hold up to 700 students apiece.
“We have some serious concerns that this board and this community has not really dealt with the need for new construction in the school system for a decade, maybe longer,” Aguillard said. “We are in a situation now where we will be faced with campuses that no longer have the capacity to install additional temporary buildings. When we reach that point, that we have run out of space to insert temporary buildings, we’re going to be looking at schools at populations where we would have to beign seriously looking at platooning students.”
Aguillard said the zone modification was a “modest recommendation” to help prevent such measures and alleviate overcrowding.
However, some parents said the rezoning proposal was only discussed for a couple of weeks, giving little time to work out details.
“We need more time to be able to stabilize our children,” said parent Sheena Bouquet. “My children have rapports with their counselors and teachers. This is not saying anything bad about Katherine Drexel and Broussard Middle. It’s everything about making sure my children are stable.”
Jessica Clardy said her family bought a home in the Cypress Crossing subdivision specifically so her son, who has autism, could attend Youngsville schools.
“This would be absolutely devastating for my son,” Clardy said. “He’s gotten used to his teachers and to the school environment. This is not an adequate amount of time to prepare my son for this.”
Aguillard said the district would create a hardship appeals process for parents who feel their children could not change schools. Officials also will provide transportation to after-school care providers. Aguillard indicated the district will follow a proposed administrative rule for transferring students. That rule would let the students in the highest grade remain at their current schools.
Still, some parents said they felt waiting another year would be more beneficial to everyone.
“I think that more adequate planning can be done,” said parent Misty White. “What other alternatives have been considered?”
Aguillard said the high number of building permits, especially in Youngsville, was one of the main reasons for asking for the change now. The city of Youngsville is averaging about 50 building permits per month, he said, adding that about 800 lots are scheduled for development near Green T. Lindon.
“It is the most appropriate first step to try to address the potential overcrowding that’s going to occur and the lack of immediate capacity to address this matter,” he said. “There really is a growing concern that we do not have the ability to house students on some of these campuses because we’ve run out of space.”
Earlier this month, the school board voted to build a new high school in the Broussard/Youngsville area, and Aguillard said a K-8 school will also eventually be needed there.
The board and school system officials are expected to look at other possible rezonings within the next few years, taking into account population growth, demographics and classroom space throughout the parish.
Meanwhile, the board approved the 2015-16 district budget on a 7-0 vote, with board members Mary Morrison and Tehmi Chassion absent. There were no public comments or board discussion on the budget, which totals more than $428 million. The board had previously made some budget adjustments to close a $15 million deficit, including eliminating some positions and increasing the student-teacher ratio by one student per classroom in many schools.
Original story by KLFY Brheanna Berry:
The Lafayette Parish School Board is deciding whether or not the school board will approve a plan to rezone students from Youngsville Middle school and Green T. Lindon elementary school in Youngsville to Broussard Middle and Kathryn Drexel Elementary in Broussard.
“The zoning issue is going to consist of whether to do a spot zone modification in an area that’s been identified in the Broussard area and that the children go to school in Youngsville. Also, I imagine we are going to be discussing when to implement rezoning.” says Jeremy Hidalgo, Lafayette School Board Member.
Jeremy Hidalgo says the last re-zoning happened in the 80’s. He also says board members took recommendations from staff members at the affected schools and says the board feels rezoning is the best way to deal with crowded schools in the Youngsville area.
“It’s simply about the fact that we don’t want schools to be over crowded. We do not want to have to move butler buildings back to Youngsville we just got rid of them. We do not want to have higher teacher people ratios in Youngsville when you have higher class sizes you’re lowering the possibility for a higher education.” says Hidalgo.
Right now the spot zone modification would relocate about 110 students from Green T. Lindon elementary in Youngsville to Kathryn Drexel Elementary School in Broussard. About 80 students from Youngsville Middle to Broussard Middle School. Some parents believe the rezoning would move their children into less desirable schools.
Hidalgo says he sympathizes with the parents of any student who is rezoned.
“I would disagree with the notion that we are moving their students to a school that’s just not as good, that’s just false. Both Broussard middle and Kathryn Drexel are B schools and Youngsville Middle is a B school. Green T. Lindon is an A school. All of the schools in our parish have good high qualified educators.” says Hidalgo.
Hidalgo says unless the motion gets delayed or postponed the plan tonight is to vote on the issue. However, the board has not yet decided, if the motion is approved when the spot rezoning will take effect.