After hours of public comment and deliberation the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board did not make a decision on whether schools in the parish will close due to the lack of funding.
Other items were on the agenda such as the idea of sending children to school for only four days per week rather than five, and the school systems recurrent financial hardships.
An estimated hundreds of people attended the meeting Thursday night and 22 people were able to give public comment.
“I spent my life in this system and I’m not going see it fail,” one Pointe Coupee teacher said.
Emotions and tensions were high as people waited in anticipation to hear the fate of parish’s school system.
“Do not take [the children] away from their second mothers and fathers, or some their only mother or father,” one parent said.
Leaders discussed the possibility of closing schools like Rougon Elemetery and Upper Pointe Coupee because of the financial issues the school system is facing.
At the meeting, Superintendent Kim Canezaro said the school system is facing a $1.5 million budget deficit.
Parents were pleading with board members to keep the schools open, so their children won’t have to go to schools on the other side of the parish.
“Kid’s coming from the northern end of the parish will actually be on the bus a lot longer than they are now and that can cause a problem for any kid,” one parent said. “Having [children] wake up early in the morning, then going to school for eight hours, then driving another two hours back home [isn’t good.]”
Teachers were echoing that, demanding the board do anything to prevent their schools from closing.
President of the board, Tom Nelson, said the board doesn’t know what they will do but something needs to happen.
“We don’t want to close schools we would like to keep all the schools open, but we have to do something in order to get a balance budget,” Nelson said. “We have a 1.5-million-dollar deficit and we have to do something.”
Even though no decision was made Thursday night about the schools staying open or closing everyone agreed their main priority was the students.
The next school board meeting will be help in February,