We’re dismayed that state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, plans to resurrect his breakaway school district bill for the upcoming session of the Legislature. White said the bill, which has not yet been filed, would be similar to a bill he filed last year that would help create a new school district in southeast Baton Rouse.
White’s breakaway school district bill failed last year in the Legislature, where a two-thirds majority of yes votes in each chamber was required to put the measure on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.
If White’s bill is approved by the Legislature, a statewide referendum would be held. The referendum would need to pass both in East Baton Rouge Parish and statewide.
Establishing yet another breakaway school district threatens to further weaken the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system and lead to diminished resources for critical programs, such as gifted and talented services. It would cause unneeded and unhelpful disruption for many children already in the system.
White recently said he’s been in talks with East Baton Rouge Parish School Superintendent Bernard Taylor about the issue, but those talks haven’t resolved concerns from residents pushing the breakaway district.
We hope that White and Taylor continue talking. We believe there are better alternatives for improving public education in the parish than establishing another school district. We’re stronger together, not apart.
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