EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Thursday night, the East Baton Rouge School Board meeting ended with not one school merger, but four.
"Howell Park is merging with Claiborne. Now they've been there since August when the flood happened, and it's such a good marriage of the two schools, we're going to continue that," explained Superintendent Warren Drake.
Drake says a group of students from Brookstown Middle Magnet will move to Istrouma High. All of those changes will take place by August of 2017.
District 8 School Board member, Connie Bernard, says merging the schools is appropriate. "The way we do education to be more efficient is that we have larger schools. We don't have any more 100 or 200 population schools. It's very inefficient, in other words, it is a waste of tax dollars. When we have limited resources, we spend them wisely," she said.
This merger is a rebirth of sorts for Istrouma High School, which has been closed for some years. Pulling groups of students from Broadmoor High School, Belaire High School, and Brookstown Middle Magnet will bring it back to life. "Not only will it have the academics pieces to it, it will also have the career and technical pieces to it that students can work there. They can also work out in the industry and get certification and go straight to work out of high school if that's what they choose to do," said Drake.
The mergers, with the hopes of bringing efficiency to the education landscape, will shake up District 2. School board member, Dawn Collins, says in terms of pure efficiency, it's a good idea but he also says, "In terms of what's best for the students, it's not the worst idea, but maybe some things could've been thought through," she said.
Superintendent Drake says the Foreign Language Emergence Program, or FLAIM, is growing at a fast rate, so a merger of the two campuses is the right move. "We need to find them a permanent home. That is the purpose for that. By the fall of 2018, they'll need to move into one site. This is a combination of helping students academically and moving the district into the 21st century," said Drake.