Central residents in an uproar over possibility of new school boundaries

A bill that could possibly redraw the school boundaries for Central has left residents in certain subdivisions concerned.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 5:41 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A bill that could possibly redraw the school boundaries for Central, leaves residents in certain subdivisions concerned.

“Back when the district was being created, people reached out to us. They actually lobbied us to be a part of this district, and now it is a sense of betrayal,” explains Albert Samuels.

Samuels feels like the rug is being pulled from under him and his neighbors in Greenwood Subdivision.

They may soon be kicked out of the Central School System. A plan proposed by Senator Bodi White would redraw the district maps to include only the city of Central and not the unincorporated neighborhoods around the city.

“We were originally gerrymandered to the district when they created it. Now it appears that we are being racially gerrymandered out of the district,” adds Samuel.

Samuels says Central’s reputation for a good school system is part of the appeal for new residents moving in.

“I liked this area because it was still in Baton Rouge, but the students would be able to go to Central schools which is a big call for that area. Central schools, you know, they are one of the best in the state, to have the Central School System available would make the houses more valuable,” explains Developer Nick Fakouri.

School board members are against a new subdivision near Hooper and Foster Roads because of potential overcrowding in schools. Fakouri plans to build 183 homes in the area. “It appears to be about something else. I don’t think it’s just about growth. Like I said, in the other subdivision that got approved, the school system never weighed in on whether we should do the subdivision or not, adds Fakouri.

Fakouri says that he finds it hard to believe a school system would not plan ahead for growth. “It seems to be a push against minorities, it appears to be that way,” says Fakouri.

In a statement, Central Superintendent Jason Fountain says: The issue you are referencing is a legislative issue. The Central Community School System is committed to providing a high-quality education to all of our students. We will continue to work with all students who fall within our district boundaries.

WAFB did reach out to Senator Bodi White, who is the author of the bill, to comment, but we have not heard back from him at this time.

Together Baton will be holding a meeting at the St. Pius gym on Tuesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. for residents to talk about how this bill could affect them.

Senate Bill 189 did pass through the Senate Education Committee, and it is now moving onto the House Education Committee.

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