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LPSS weighing options for influx of students at Southside High School

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 23:04:07-05

Some students at Southside High School could wind up at different schools as early as 2020. That’s because of overcrowding at the new school.

Board members are proposing putting more butler buildings at Southside to accommodate the students.

Right now, the school’s population is at 1,200 students, and with an expected influx of another 500 students, the board says it’s looking at all options.

“I realize these topics, rezoning and butler buildings, are very emotional topics,” said board member Jeremy Hidalgo at the town hall he hosted Monday night.

Dozens of parents sat in the Southside High cafeteria to hear about the future of the school.

“That growth trend [in Youngsville, Broussard and Milton] is showing it’s not going to slow down. It’s only growing larger, and so the need for portable buildings has been made by the demographer, the superintendent, and many others who have been studying the issue since Southside opened,” said Hidalgo.

On Thursday, the school board will consider putting six butler buildings on the campus.

The unfortunate need for portable buildings as a quick fix is where we are,” Hidalgo said.

The current capacity at Southside High is 1,400. The temporary buildings will add 360 spots to that capacity. Still, Hidalgo said this option will be temporary as even more growth is expected.

“If the portable buildings come now, then the need to rezone or spot rezone no longer exists. However, that continued growth is going to pose a problem for years to come, not just for Southside, but it will trickle into Comeaux and other schools that will be fed through the growth areas,” he explained.

That more permanent fix will come for the 2020-2021 school year.

That’s if the school system approves a proposed spot rezone: sending some students living in Youngsville and Milton to Comeaux High.

Scroll to the end to view the maps.

“If you split that growth zone, then you don’t have to look at spot rezoning every year, two years, three years,” he said.

Parents at the meeting say they still have concerns about the options at hand.

“I would prefer the options of butler buildings personally because it would give my children the option to stay here,” said Theresa Freyou, who has a child at Southside. Her kids were rezoned two years ago when the school system did it last. “I know it’s not the best option, and they’re not appealing for many reasons, but I think, at this point, to avoid being rezoned again, in my own opinion, I would prefer them.”

Another parent said he wishes the school board had better options.

“I think when they did the last zoning, they didn’t plan enough as far as how many people were coming. They made such a big deal about getting away with the portable buildings and how bad they were; why would they think about bringing portable buildings back to a facility this nice?” said Terry Hughes.

Hidalgo said an additional wing could be built as Phase Two of Southside, allowing the school to accommodate 2,000 students.

However, that would cost $18.5 million, and he said that won’t be in the budget anytime soon.

Here are the two proposed maps: Option A and Option B.