EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — With a City of St. George closer to reality, East Baton Rouge Parish school leaders face a real concern: how to serve a high-demand part of the parish without losing big investments.
Parish school leaders plan to invest up to $100 million on as many as three new facilities to meet growing demands in southern East Baton Rouge Parish. But if the school system builds within St. George’s limits, it risks having to surrender the land and facilities.
“If you purchase land in the City of St. George, and then they establish a school system, then that takes away opportunities from other students who live in our district,” Superintendent Warren Drake told BRProud.com in an interview Monday.
Depending on how closely a St. George school district mirrors the proposed city’s borders, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System could already end up surrendering six public schools and one charter school:
- Jefferson Terrace Elementary
- Shenandoah Elementary
- Westminster Elementary
- Woodlawn Elementary
- Woodlawn Middle
- Woodlawn High
- BASIS Charter School
Some board members, though, remain more open to building within St. George, saying any new school district would still be years away — and still require multiple endorsements by legislators and voters.
The EBR school board’s expansion plan devotes $35 million to a south Baton Rouge elementary school. Another $45 million would go toward a middle/high school, to be built either together or apart. The district has reserved an additional $10 million for land purchases.
The board has yet to secure and approve land for the new schools. Board president Mike Gaudet plans to hold a workshop, in which members will discuss where in the southern part of the parish to invest.
Roughly 5,700 students currently attending East Baton Rouge Parish public schools would attend St. George schools, according to the existing district’s latest figures.