Discussion continues on breakaway school district

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The breakaway school district discussion will be back on the legislative floor of the session this year. Those who want the proposed Southeast School System say they'll keep pushing for it to pass until changes are made.

Almost a year has gone by since the bill that would allow ten schools in southeast East Baton Rouge to separate from East Baton Rouge School System was voted down.

"The East Baton Rouge School System continues to fail our children. We want that quality of education," said Norman Browning, president of Local Schools for Local Children.

Browning says despite last year's defeat  he is heading into this legislative session confident.

"We believe this year, we can fine tune what we did last year and be very direct in our approach to get this thing passed...such as now knowing where our nay votes were," said Browning.

East Baton Rouge school board member Barbara Freiberg says she's happy to be a part of discussions like this one, but says they need to happen more often and with more information from both sides.

"I think the other thing that was missing from the conversation was some of the information about how we really do have catch-up programs and remediation programs," said Freiberg.

She says remediation programs helped 87 percent of EBR schools to improve over the last year. Freiberg worries if facts like that one are not put on the table up front, lawmakers and communities could be jumping the gun in wanting to break away.

"There certainly will be many districts that will piggyback on this," said Freiberg. "If this is what's best for our state, that's what we need to do. But I think we need to really carefully consider all the ramifications of this kind of legislation."

Browning says allowing new districts to form, like the proposed Southeast system, is good for education in the state. He hopes legislators understand that and allow Louisianans to make the final decision about the fate of their schools, at the polls.

St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson says members of his community are pushing area legislators to write and present a bill to separate schools in Iberville Parish.

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