BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A town hall meeting with East Baton Rouge Parish school district officials started with a playful, football-style chant, but soon got down to very serious business concerning the future of the district and various parent worries. Teacher demand and the potential city of St. George were two topics that were quickly voiced. However, perhaps the biggest concern was something much more immediate, and tied to all things in and out of the classroom- student achievement.
"My biggest concern is student achievement I just want our children to start achieving," said parent and activist Pearl Porter.
During the meeting, Dr. Bernard Taylor outlined several advancements the district has made. He also laid out an idea to students more choices in which school they can attend.
"People value choice. In a state that has vouchers and charters, as a district, we owe it to our stake holders to give them as broad an array of choices as possible so that the focus is always on student achievement," said Taylor.
Taylor proposes to create six regional zones within the district, and give students the choice of attending any school within their zone. Each zone would include clusters of elementary, middle, high schools and magnets schools, as well as other resources to help with literacy and student improvement.
"We hear loud and clear that there are people who want their children to be closer to home. That's logical and it makes sense," said Taylor.
Taylor also said that it would push school to work harder to attract and retain students. Parents at the town hall Sunday evening seemed open and receptive to the idea.
However, before any action is taken, the idea will first be discussed with the community in other community meetings.