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St. Landry School Board addresses overcrowding concerns

Posted at 10:27 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 23:29:07-05

OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish School Board is addressing complaints of overcrowding at Opelousas Middle School. The school, formerly known as South Street Elementary School, re-opened this school year after the closure two other schools in Opelousas. Board members want the issue addressed before next school year.

"We made a mistake and its time for us to correct that mistake" School Board member, Hazel Sias District 10 said.

Board member Joyce Haynes, District 2, addressed the other members saying it's a tight fit at Opelousas Middle school.

"When we visit, were looking at a situation if there are pull outs to help the children academically, they have to find a place to do that.When you look at the lunch room lines, and there are lines all the time, there's three shifts, children are going hungry" Haynes says.

She worries it will only get worse.

"We realize there are 600 students there now, and with the fourth grade class coming next year, there will be 642 students. And if there overcrowded now, we see we need to make a change" Haynes said.

"The public is the one that's calling us everyday saying we need to make some changes" School Board member, Milton Ambres, District 3 said.

Superintendent of schools, Patrick Jenkins says the school system will look into the issue, but points out that by Lousiana class size standards Opelousas Middle is below regulations.

"Louisiana Department of Education says we can have a class average 33 to 1, however we do not believe that, we feel that 25 to1 for grade 5Th and 6Th is appropriate" Superintendent Patrick Jenkins said.

Jenkins says he is not denying that there is an issue, but the board meeting was not the place for the discussion. They will hold a special meeting Monday February 10th, at 4 pm. The meeting will be held at 1013 Creswell Lane, Opelousas.