Calcasieu Schools will not be in the "race to the top"

By Crystal Price - bio | email

CITY, ST (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board has voted not to participate in the "Race to the Top" program.

"Race to the Top" is a federal program geared toward improving schools who promise to revamp teacher evaluations.

Although the idea sounded good to Superintendent Wayne Savoy, he felt it was necessary to implement this program in Calcasieu Parish Schools.

"We needed more information than what we were given about the program," says Savoy.

Savoy says although the program could possibly improve student performance, he still had questions about the process.

"One concern I had was that we could not determine exactly how much money that we would receive," says Savoy. "Secondly, I wanted to know if we would be allowed to maintain our programs after we got into a partnership."

This fear prompted Calcasieu Parish School Board member Annette Ballard to make a motion to reject the program.

"We've already invested a great deal of time and money in implementing some wonderful programs here in Calcasieu," says Ballard. "I'm sure that all of the goals are wonderful, but we're totally confident in what we're already doing."

While the Calcasieu Parish School Board is confident in the programs they already in place, members of the Southwest Louisiana Community School Advocacy Council say the program is very much needed in Calcasieu Parish Schools.

"Yesterday was the saddest day in Calcasieu Parish," says Rev. J. L. Franklin, Executive Director of the Southwest Louisiana Community School Advocacy Council.

Franklin was very disheartened by the decision.

"The superintendent expressed that we're already doing all these things," says Franklin. "But I have one question, 'why aren't we getting the good results?' What I'm getting at is that we have 12 schools in our parish and they're at the bottom."

Franklin feels taking a risk with a new federal program might be just what the parish needs.

"If we're doing the same old thing, then we're going to keep getting the same results," says Franklin. "That's insanity."

Other local parishes in our 5 parish region who are also not participating in the state's "Race to the Top" include Cameron, Jeff Davis, Allen, and Beauregard.

Vernon parish was the only school district in south west Louisiana to vote yes to the "Race to the Top" program.

To see if your school is participating in the program click on the link to the right.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.