Community encouraged to attend special meeting - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Community encouraged to attend special meeting on possible school closures

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(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)

The celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. turned to education Monday night, addressing the possible closures of three Lake Charles schools.

They gathered in worship at Mount Olive Baptist Church to remember Dr. King in song and praise. But the message was focused on what they call the current "educational crisis" facing three schools in North Lake Charles.

On the chopping block are Ralph Wilson Elementary, Reynaud Middle School, and John F. Kennedy Elementary. The Calcasieu Parish School Board will discuss closing the schools at a special meeting on Tuesday, January 21.

Several longtime educators spoke to those in attendance at Mount Olive Baptist.

"What is sadder still is the fact that while our elected school board members fumble to find a solution to this grave problem by closing our schools. Many lives will be crippled before they are barely able to begin," said Charles Honore, Lake Charles Academy Vice President.

Mount Olive Baptist Pastor Braylon Harris encouraged the congregation to attend Tuesday's meeting.

"We've got an issue here that is going to definitely affect our immediate community, but we also believe you will hear some speeches and information that will affect the larger community as well," said Pastor Harris.

Retired educator Martha Gray will be at the meeting. Her last 15 years were spent as a counselor at JFK Elementary.

"It's a high performing school, and I know our population is down, perhaps, but considering to close a school of that level of performance just dismays me. I cannot imagine," said Gray.

Gray encourages others to come in support and is hopeful the school board will be receptive to what they have to say.

"I would hope that educated-minded people would be open to listen. We never know what we are going to hear. The truth can come from the mouth of babes, and we can change our opinion when we hear the opinion of others," said Gray.

The special meeting gets underway Tuesday at 4:45 p.m. at the Calcasieu Parish School Board Office.

KPLC will be there and bring you the very latest.

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