School administrators were in the hot seat Monday night as they answered questions from an emotional Plain Dealing community concerning the future of their schools.
Bossier Superintendent Scott Smith introduced the plan to reconfigure Plain Dealing’s schools into one pre-K through 12th grade school, creating a unified campus for all students, during a town hall meeting.
The presentation had a mixed reception with some voicing their favor of the plan while others opposed it.
At the heart of the discussion was what would happen to Carrie Martin Elementary School if the pre-K through 5th grade students were removed and put into renovated space on the high school campus, which also houses the middle school students.
Smith said it could be used partially as a parent center or as a community center for the town.
“Closing it and boarding up the windows is far from what we want to do,” Smith told the residents. “There’s plenty of land there that would make a beautiful park and farmer’s market. We’re not here to simply close down Carrie Martin, but to repurpose it.”
Questions were then raised as to why the school board would spend money on a new space at the high school campus rather than investing in the current elementary school.
“As a parent, I don’t want my kids on the high school campus,” Plain Dealing resident Stephanie Gafford said, adding that she will have two students in elementary school next year. “Why not invest money into the school we already have?”
Another parent spoke about security factors, adding that they, too, don’t want their young children on the same campus as teenagers. Smith said security is a top priority at all Bossier schools and would be no different in Plain Dealing, adding that the school will put priority on keeping young children from contact with older students and vice versa.
The plan still has to be approved by the Bossier Parish School Board.
For the full story, see this week’s May 10th edition. Subscribe to the BPT online HERE.