BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A bill that would change the way large school systems in the state govern schools passed through the Senate floor by a vote of 23 to 12 Wednesday. The bill authored by Senator Bodi White would create smaller attendance zones in large school systems like East Baton Rouge Parish. The zones would be governed by school principals who would control allocated funds and all decision making by working together with community school councils.
"They'll have input into the curriculum, what they would like to see at their schools and what kind of programs," White says. "They still have to follow state law don't get me wrong, but they'll have more input and hopefully we can re-engage the communities in East Baton Rouge Parish to bring more young kids back into public schools."
The bill is supported by power groups like the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the East Baton Rouge District Attorney, but others like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers say the measure ignores the input of educators and doesn't address the real problem.
"We have community problems right now. It's linked to poverty. It's linked to many other things and it's a band-aid approach to let's see if we can carve it up to a small place, localize decision making and then everything else that's affecting the process right now goes away," said LFT President Steve Monaghan.
The measure is now off to the House of Representatives where it will be heard in the Education Committee.