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Caddo Parish School Board to vote Jan. 20 on plan to close 6 schools, build 3 others

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SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — The Caddo Parish School Board will vote on a plan to close six schools, build three others and upgrade facilities throughout the parish at its Jan. 20 meeting.

The Times reports (http://bit.ly/1tOKXLN ) the board's executive committee agreed to move the proposal to its upcoming regular meeting Tuesday after Superintendent Lamar Goree formally introduced the plan.

However, the panel opted to hold back a resolution authorizing a May 2 special election for voters to approve reallocating one-mil of a six-mil tax that would fund the plan to revise the interest rate on the bonds from 8 to 5 percent. The district's senior officials hope to issue up to $108 million in bonds.

Goree along with several staff members, as well as Shreveport demographer Gary Joiner who helped with the plan, gave a data-heavy presentation to the board and audience that featured maps showing population movements in Caddo Parish.

Board members had questions, such as what were the proposed locations of new schools or if the plan would possibly be altered, but were largely receptive to the proposal which calls for building new schools for the first time in three decades.

School board member Dottie Bell said earlier in the process she supported constructing a new school in Greenwood but realized there aren't enough students there to sustain one.

"If we build a school right now in Greenwood we would probably build it in the wrong place," Bell said.

Under the plan, Jack P. Timmons and Blanchard elementary schools would close with Blanchard opening at a new location. A K-8 school would open in southeast Shreveport.

In central Shreveport and the Highland area, three Title I schools —Barret Paideia Academy, Creswell Elementary and E.B. Williams-Stoner Hill Laboratory School — would close and combine into one state-of-the-art facility. Other schools would get new wings and auxiliary gyms, and high schools would receive updated science labs among other changes.

Still, Roynetta Ortiz, who listened from the audience, was disappointed and questioned why a new school is not being proposed for the Cooper Road or MLK area. "If they can build three they can build four," she said.


Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com

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