The Louisiana Recovery School District plans to relocate Prescott Middle School students to the campus of Istrouma High School effective this fall, officials said at a public meeting Monday.
The move comes as the Recovery School District takes over the middle school, which is being operated this year by Advance Baton Rouge, a charter school organization.
“Prescott Middle School is not closing,” said Kimberly Williams, Recovery School District-Louisiana’s portfolio manager, to a handful of parents who attended Monday’s informational meeting.
“Prescott Middle School will have separate space at Istrouma High School,” she said.
Robert Webb, Jr., who will serve as Recovery School District-Louisiana’s campus director at Istrouma High School once the district takes control July 1, said the Istrouma campus has plenty of room to accommodate Prescott’s 300 students.
Once the students are moved, the Istrouma High School campus will house sixth through 12th grades, Williams said.
The move had “everything to do with the facility,” Williams said, referring to the poor condition of Prescott Middle School.
The building is owned by the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, Williams said, and the district plans to discuss the future of the building with school officials.
“We want to talk with them about alternative schools, about getting a charter in here, about renovations,” Williams said. “The first thing is safety.”
Parts of the building are not being used now due to safety concerns, she said.
Prescott Middle School faculty will have an opportunity to be considered for a position at the Recovery School District’s Prescott Middle, Williams said.
Parent Rhondel Jones said before the meeting that he “just trying to find out what’s going on.”
He said, “Every time I come around here, everything’s changed.”
Jones said he was reassured after hearing Williams and Webb speak about the changes to come.
“I think it’s going to be OK,” he said. “It can’t get any worse; it’s got to get better.”
One eighth-grade student at the school, De’Mathis Charbonnet, said he had five social studies teachers this year, and many of the books had pages missing and writing in them.
Prescott Middle and Istrouma High School are both part of a new Achievement Zone, a group of nine schools in north Baton Rouge that state officials are setting up to be run as charter or charterlike schools.
The idea is to give their leaders greater autonomy over budgets and personnel than is the case for traditional public schools.
Five of the Achievement Zone schools are run by the Recovery School District.
Williams said that eventually all of the schools in the zone will be charter schools, but none until at least 2013-2014.
In response to a parent question about student safety, Williams said the middle-school students would be kept separate from the high school students at Istrouma High, and the two groups would wear different color shirts to identify them.
She also said students would have the opportunity to take high school electives while at Prescott.
The meeting was the first of several this week that Williams will hold, according to a news release sent out by the Recovery School District. On Tuesday, Williams will be at Glen Oaks Middle School; Wednesday, Lanier Elementary School; Thursday, Dalton Elementary School; Monday, Pointe Coupee Central High School; and May 15, Capitol High School.