(WAFB) - A year after the flood, East Baton Rouge Parish schools are getting a lifeline when it comes to their letter grades.
This week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved a waiver for the EBR Parish School System, allowing all schools to maintain the same letter grade as the 2015-16 school year, regardless of how they scored.
"BESE was very, very generous to us today," said Superintendent Warren Drake, praising the move. He says the flood was especially traumatic for impoverished communities.
John White, the head of the department of education, said Wednesday that without this waiver, as many as 20 schools could have seen their letter grades d rop.
Across the district, several schools are still a work in progress, but it's not just the schools. Drake estimates about 35 percent of students and faculty had flooding at home. "We still have right now, in EBR Parish, four departments that are not back in permanent spaces," Drake said. "We have 46 fewer buses than we did before the flood. This is still not over."
At Glen OIaks Park Elementary School, the building took on four feet of water last year, sustaining millions of dollars in damage. They were forced to relocate. "It looked like earthworm heave. Mud and earthworms were everywhere," said Principal Bernard Williams. "It was gross."
A year before the flood, Glen Oaks saw their school performance scores jump, moving from a 'D' to a 'C' letter grade. Last year amid the flood though, they stumbled. "We knew the scores weren't going to be as good as they should have been, because of the delay of the time of being out of school 16 days, and coming back and taking almost a month to get ready, set, go," said Williams.
At Williams' school, they still have a ways to go. They are waiting to replace some technology and smart boards, but Williams says they are ready to bounce back. Their new goal is to become a blue ribbon school.
"Over time, as we get a chance to put it all together, then you'll see the difference," he said.
In Livingston Parish, the schools automatically get a waiver because of the number of school days they miss. Meanwhile in Ascension, the spokeswoman says they are not applying for a waiver because their LEAP scores went up, even with the flood.
Below is a list of the statuses of all EBR Parish schools' recovery building repair projects, courtesy of the school system:
- Park Forest Elementary School - Completed by the start of 2017 school year
- Park Forest Middle School - Completed by the start of 2017 school year
- Glen Oaks High School - Flood Recovery still in progress. Planning stage ongoing
- Glen Oaks Park Elementary School - Completed by the start of 2017 school year
- Brookstown Elementary School - Completed by the start of 2017 school year
- Choctaw Administration Building -Planning stage ongoing
- Greenbriar Elementary School - Design underway for flood repair. Will be completed June 2018
- Howell Park Elementary School - Temporary repairs completed. Permanent repairs will be completed in 2018
- Lanier Elementary School - In planning stages
- Prescott Elementary School - In planning stages
- Montgomery Center (Administrative Site) - Design phase underway. Will be completed June 2018
- North Highlands Quad (Administrative Site) - Completed by the start of 2017 school year
- Twin Oaks Elementary School - Some work completed by the start of 2017 school year. Remainder of work scheduled to be completed in 2018
- Professional Development Center (Administrative Site) - Completed by the start of 2017 school year