Lott believes in Plain Dealing

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Area’s school board rep wants to improve schools

Amanda Simmons
amanda@bossierpress.com

Bossier Parish School Board President Bill Lott has high hopes for improving his district.

Through him, Plain Dealing has a strong voice on the school board. He has been vocal during proposed consolidation talks, artificial turf debates, and asking for needed repairs to the schools.

About a year ago, Lott started pushing to get Plain Dealing a new press box for its football stadium. Pictures shown at a board meeting gave an idea of how badly it was in need of an upgrade.

“What they had was a box building that the coaches had to climb on top of the roof to do their filming. Well the roof was no longer safe,” Lott explained. “My understanding is the inside of the press box was supposed to hold six people, including coaches, the announcer and officials. We couldn’t get more than probably two in there comfortable…I told myself I would get that press box one way or another. Well, I still don’t have the press box.”

That seems to be the overall attitude about Plain Dealing, Lott said.

“I was told by people in Plain Dealing before I ever got elected, that it’s a forgotten world once you cross that line on Highway 3,” he said. “Like a completely different state.”

Lott often wonders why that is and how that can be changed.

“I believe, regardless, the people of Plain Dealing deserve the same things the people in the city deserve,” Lott said. “No, we don’t need a huge school for the number of people we have. Are the kids not worth them having the best that they deserve? I keep getting put off by other board members that they aren’t getting anything up there.”

He continued: “We need to get out of the mindset that it’s my district that I’m looking out for and start looking out for the parish. I am a parish school board member. I vote on issues that involve the whole parish. Why shouldn’t we, as a board, be looking out for the whole parish and put our own agendas and wants below what is most needed in our parish.”

A prime example, Lott said, is the number of temporary buildings at Sun City Elementary.

“What really gets me about the artificial turf was all these schools have needs and we talked about spending $5 million on turf football fields,” Lott said “I love sports, but lets take care of our people. When you’ve got that many temporary buildings at a school, our kids and teachers deserve better than that. I know everybody wants to represent their district, but let’s do what is fair and what is right.”

A motion to proceed with artificial turf fields at four Bossier Parish high schools failed at the Jan. 19 school board meeting. Lott was among those who voted no to the project.

He says he will continue to be a voice for the schools who desperately need improvements.

“It’s my Christian belief, first of all, that everybody deserves fair and equal treatment. We’re all equal in God’s eyes,” he said. “My whole reason for doing this was to try to bring Christian values in any way and every way that I could into what we’re doing as a school board. There’s a lot to be done yet that I haven’t even gotten involved in.”

Lott also feels that a new school or classroom wing would make Plain Dealing more attractive to new families and could help draw in more people to the area.

“Now’s the greatest time to do this and to do it right,” Lott said. “We’ve got to do something to bring families back and to get new families up there. Closing Plain Dealing [schools] would kill that community.”

As far as consolidation, Lott is vigilant. And the school board has maintained it has not committed to anything.

Sonja Bailes, Public Relations Liaison for Bossier Schools, says the school board has not voted on anything regarding Plain Dealing schools.

“Right now is strictly informational,” Bailes said. “[Superintendent Scott Smith] has made several site visits to Plain Dealing and our curriculum team has made visits to other K-12 configuration [sites] around the state just to see how it works. There’s a lot of moving parts with this, but nothing specific has been done at this time.”

What he doesn’t want is for the people of Plain Dealing to lose hope.

“A lot of them say they don’t have any hope left,” Lott said. “I believe there is hope, not only from a spiritual standpoint, but there is still a chance. Don’t be satisfied with the idea that it can’t improve. I believe that if we have enough people step up and speak up, it can improve. This is for Plain Dealing and any other school.”