Southeast School District Tries Again

Apr 19, 2013

The slice of east Baton Rouge between Interstates 10 and 12 may be a step closer to seeing its own school district.

A constitutional amendment that would have funded the district failed to pass in the House last year. The same measure passed through the Senate Education committee Thursday without much debate.

Parents that live from Inniswold to Shenndoah testified that they just want to make schools safer and more academically successful for their children, like Norman Browning, president of the pro-breakaway group ‘Local Schools for Local Children.’

“EBR has failed our kids," Browning said. "More than 60 percent of our children go to D and F rated schools. If you talk to the teachers, to the parents, we have major disciplinary problems in our schools.”

Sen. Bodi White, who is sponsoring the initiative, asked a student who attends Woodlawn High where the students that cause what Browning called the ‘disciplinary problems’ live. “It seems to be the students from farther away that come to Woodlawn that have the disciplinary issues," the student replied.

East Baton Rouge Superintendent Bernard Taylor pointed out that EBR schools serve a population of children that don’t have the same privileges as those that live in the Southeast. Taylor said schools are the only institutions that "have to deal with it on a daily basis to the magnitude that we have to.”

“And I think if you look at what we’re doing with the declining resources that we have," Taylor said, "they need to do it holistically, because this piece-parting is going to mean that someone- there are going to be winners and losers.”

The break-away school district will next face the Senate Finance Committee, which shares a few members with the Education Committee. The bill isn't expected to meet much opposition until it reaches the House Education Committee.