Lee High closing? - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Lee High closing?

By Tyana Williams - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -Closing down Lee High School was just a thought last school year.  But in a few hours, it could become reality. East Baton Rouge school board members will vote Thursday night on superintendent Charlotte Placide's recommendation to close the school. While students want their school to remain open, there are several reasons it needs to be shutdown.

Because of test scores, Lee High School is currently in the fourth tier of academically unacceptable status  meaning in August it could be taken over by the state. That's just one reason the system wants to shut it down. It was not that long ago, Lee High students were pleading for the school board to save their school. More than a year later, kids are still yelling that same message. "Had everybody out here with t-shirts on, trying to save the school. All that was a waste of time." said one student.

Around East Baton Rouge, this is the last day of school. For these parents, this is likely the last time, ever, they'll pick up students from this campus.  "Found out two schools they have option of going to. And their upset - like I said she's been on the dance team since 9th grade - she'll be a junior next year."

School system spokesman Chris Trahan says the community has known about the possibility of closing this school for at least a year. "The decline in enrollment at the high school, aging facility, and test scores. We know scores came up - but we don't know if they came up enough to keep them out of academically unacceptable status." said Trahan.

Another reason for closing, Kenilworth Middle School feeds into Lee High. Kenilworth is now under state control. Lee High was built 50 years ago  to hold 950 students.  As of Wednesday, Trahan says enrollment was only 621. 440 students are zoned for this school -- the remaining students are bused in from around the parish for special programs like english as a second language.

There were plans to fix up Lee High that will still have to be done, because in two years, when Baton Rouge Magnet High is getting its update  those kids will be moved here. There are plans to replace Lee High with a specialized high school but as far as these kids are concerned Lee High is closed.

We also spoke with a football coach from the school. He said this is his first "last" day of school in 50 years. We asked if he would be at the meeting Thursday night, he said,  "what's the point, the decision is already made."

Students will have a choice between Tara, McKinley, and Woodlawn High schools.

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