Apr 19, 2012 12:26 AM by Jim Hummel
By a vote of 5 to 3, the Lafayette Parish School Board approved the so-called 'Turnaround Plan' for the school system. Through changes to academics, health/wellness, facilities & maintenance the goal is to bring the school system from its current 'C-rating' with The Department of Education to an 'A-rating' over a six-year period.
Voting against the plan were board members Tommy Angelle, Mark Allen Babineaux and Greg Awbry.
All expressed concerns about paying for the reforms, and wanted to see specific reports on funding.
"The educational parts - I agree with 90-percent of them," said Awbry. "But I can't [vote for it] responsibly as a board member without knowing where the money is going to come from."
Since he first introduced the plan, Superintendent Pat Cooper has said it can be executed within the means of the school system.
"We're not going to ask the public to provide us anymore tax money," he said. "We feel like we need to prove ourselves over the next couple of years and we can use the dollars we already have, in the most effective manner."
Now with board approval, Cooper will begin work on financing the plan, specifics he says he'll present in waves to the board for approval over the coming weeks.
Wednesday night's vote approved the entire plan in concept and gave specific approval for just year one of the plan. Among other measures, 'year one' will bring about scheduling changes. Initially, Cooper proposed switching the school start times for middle and high school students, but after speaking with students, Cooper has tweaked that proposal. Instead of switching the start times for middle and high school, Cooper is now recommending start times for ALL students change; he wants to delay school start times, across the board by 15 minutes.
To see more of the 'year one' changes, you can find a copy of the plan in its entirety by clicking HERE.