BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With one year under his belt, the superintendent of the East Baton Rouge School System outlined his goals for the year ahead Monday.
Some of those plans are in part inspired by the weeks of tension in the Capital City, where the shooting death of Alton Sterling at the hands of two white police officers inspired protests.
For example, Superintendent Warren Drake said his schools need to help foster good relations between students and law enforcement, starting with the school resource officers who patrol the school hallways.
"Our kids have to understand these are people, they are community people. They're just like we are. They wear a badge and a uniform, but they are here to protect us," Drake said.
Beyond working to change the culture, Drake also announced that starting this year, every middle-school aged student in 5th through 8th grade will have
access to a laptop.
Those computers would be available for students during the school day, but would be left at the school in the evenings.
"We live in a technological world. People research, people use those devices every day. We need our students to put their hands on devices," Drake said.
Meanwhile, the school system is grappling with how to institute a $15 million cut over the course of the upcoming year. The district has already trimmed $15 million from its budget through changes to staffing and cuts to most departments.
Drake said he believes additional reductions can come from efficiencies and changes to contracts.
"The most important thing is that we keep the integrity in our classroom, that we keep the best teacher we can have in the classroom, that we can keep the best principal that we can have in that school," Drake said.
Of course, when 85 percent of the system's budget is made up of salaries and benefits, keeping all staff and teachers on board could be a tall order.
"We don't want to effect the quality of instruction in the classroom for our students and I think we can find monies to cut moving forward," Drake said.