Lafayette

Jul 11, 2012 11:27 PM by Maddie Garrett

Back to the Drawing Board for Lafayette Schools' Master Facilities Plan

It's back to the drawing board for Lafayette Parish schools' Master Facilities Plan, after some school board members and the superintendent want to change what was already in place.

The Master Facilities Plan was created a few years ago under the previous superintendent and administration. The board spent about three years and roughly one million dollars forming the Master Plan, and had input from the public.

But voters defeated a tax proposal to pay for the plan, so the new plan is to redo the old one.

"Bottom line is the original plan didn't pass. So we have to take the information that's good in that plan and use it, but we have to come up with another plan," said Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper.

Cooper said there are key things he wants to change, such as completing projects for less money than originally planned. That could mean renovating schools instead of building new ones.

"We're kind of stuck in this situation where we don't have this money that we were anticipating on having we're doing in all of our facilities, we really need to go project by project," said board member Mark Cockerham.

Cooper said projects should also line up with the new six year Education Plan, something not in place under the old Master Plan.

"As opposed to just building facilities and then sticking programs in it, we want to make sure the facilities match the programs," explained Cooper.

But all of these changes don't sit well with some school board members. Greg Awbrey said the Master Plan prioritized the order schools would be overhauled. The community approved it. Awbrey said he now feels like it's being ignored.

"As soon as people are allowed to step out of line and go to the front you have a mob. And what we're creating is a mob mentality out of the master plan by doing the things we're doing," said Awbrey.

A committee is being re-assembled to re-evaluate the school system's needs. The board will then discuss those changes in a workshop in the coming weeks.

Along the lines of changing the Master Facility Plan, the school board also voted to pursue $30 million from selling bonds. Wednesday night's vote only allows the board to request permission to borrow the money.

The $30 million would be used for improvements at Lafayette High, Northside High, Thibodeaux Tech, Youngsville Middle and Green T Lindon Elementary. However, there was no outline on what those improvements would be.

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