Parents and community voices concerns at CPSB reconfiguration plan meeting

CPSB School reconfiguration

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It’s an idea that’s already drawn a protest outside the Calcasieu Parish School Board building, now opponents of the plans to reconfigure four elementary schools get to have their say.

"John F. Kennedy is a family. Those children and teachers, administration it's a family," said a concerned resident." Families don't need to be broken up."

Many parents and community members are asking school board members to have compassion for their community and the well being of their children. Asking the Calcasieu Parish School Board not to move forward on a plan they're considering which would make T.H. Watkins Elementary a kindergarten through fifth grade school and turn John F. Kennedy into an early childhood center.

Much of the frustration was being directed at superintendent Karl Bruchhaus, who reminded those in attendance while he does make the recommendations, he does not have the final say.

“I have no decision in it. I give them the presentation, and we have fifteen board members who decide,” Bruchhaus said. “If they decide to do it, we do it. If they decide to do something else, we do something else.”

School board member Reverend Desmond Wallace, who represents John F. Kennedy, has introduced another option which would include re-zoning rather than re-configuring.

He says CPSB can take advantage of the growth in Southeast Lake Charles which could bring more students to the school.

“As many of you are aware of, there has been growth there for over the last three to four years,” Rev. Wallace said. “Over 300 homes have been built with new families moving in.”

Rev. Wallace passed out his plan to those in attendance, letting them know it will be brought to the school board on their next agenda.

While Mack Dellafosse, who represents district 7, supports Rev. Wallace's plan he says it's hard to say what the board will decide given the evident lack of enrollment.

"We do have a lot of members that do look at dollars and cents," Dellafosse said. "And when you have a school that's at 98 to 100 kids and there are no other schools in the parish that has that. That is a school that is very ripe to be closed."

So far, many parents seem to be open to Rev. Wallace's proposal to rezone rather than configure.

Parents of Combre-Fondel and J.D. Clifton Elementary schools will also get their chance to meet Thursday, May 21 at 5 p.m.

For more information about the meeting, the school reconfiguration plan, and when it will be on CPSB’s agenda click here.

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