DONALDSONVILLE, La. (BRPROUD) — New attendance zones were approved by the Ascension Parish School Board Tuesday.

The approved maps can be viewed here.

Prairieville High School is set to open in 2024.

Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent Edith Walker released a letter addressed to parents and guardians in the parish. A copy of that letter can be viewed below.

There are several important updates that I want to share with you that are a result of the actions taken by our Ascension Parish School Board members.

New Attendance Zones for 2024-25
Last night, the Ascension Parish School Board gave final approval of new attendance zones for the 2024-25 academic year when the new Prairieville High School opens. These approved maps can be viewed on our website. As we are creating a new feeder system, these attendance zones will impact primary, middle, and high schools on the east side of our parish. This means some of our students will be rezoned to attend a different school starting in the Fall of 2024. We understand that this change may bring questions and concerns, and we are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for those impacted. We also acknowledge that not everyone will be happy with these changes. However, please understand that we serve over 24,000 students, and our Board gave their best effort to equitably balance enrollment across feeder systems.

If your child will have a new school of residence based on the approved attendance zones, you will receive a communication directly from your current school. Those communications will first go out at the high school level in the next week with instructions for rising 10th, 11th, and 12th-graders whom the School Board is allowing an option to stay at their current schools. An important part of this option process will be utilizing the PowerSchool Parent Portal.

PowerSchool Parent Portal
All parents or guardians should have an active Parent Portal in PowerSchool. This is an essential place for you to track student grades, attendance, and schedules, as well as complete important forms. For students who will be given attendance zone options, the form to make that decision will be in the Parent Portal. Since setting up a Parent Portal in PowerSchool is student-specific for security reasons, you will need to reach out directly to your school to receive your unique access code and instructions.

A/C on School Buses
The Transportation Committee made an important step towards the possibility of installing air conditioning on all school buses. Staff presented the results of a sealed bid process that revealed it will be a one-time cost of approximately $1.6 million to install cooling units on the 114 buses we own in our existing fleet plus a $300,000 annual increase for our 62 leased buses. As funding sources for the one-time and recurring expenses were identified, this passed out of committee and will now go to the full board for final approval on Nov. 28, 2023.

Employee Pay
I am so pleased to share with you that the Ascension Parish School Board approved one-time salary supplements for all employees in the amounts of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees with reduced amounts for those employed after Oct. 2, 2023. This is in addition to the one-time pay that was funded by the state. I want to thank our Board Members for making this investment in our teachers and staff. This one-time pay for our hardworking employees is a recognition of their dedication and a reflection of the District’s commitment to attracting and retaining exceptional staff members who play a pivotal role in our students’ education.

It is important to acknowledge the hard work of our School Board Members. All of these decisions were not made lightly and required balancing various factors, including financial considerations and the needs of our educational community. In particular, the process of redistricting is a complex and sensitive one, and we acknowledge the extensive time and effort our Board invested in ensuring that the best interests of our students and the community were at the forefront of their decision-making. Their willingness to listen to the concerns of our stakeholders and dedication to finding practical solutions to complex issues is a testament to their commitment to educational excellence. Their tireless work, thoughtful deliberation, and commitment to transparency have undoubtedly resulted in decisions that will positively impact our school district for years to come.

We appreciate their leadership and the support of you — our parents and guardians — as we all work together to ensure every student can achieve the career of their dreams through the highest-quality educational experiences Ascension Public Schools can provide.

Superintendent Dr. Edith Walker

According to Ascension Parish Schools, the last day of school for students before the new zones are implemented is Thursday, May 23, 2024.