Ideas being floated for Pointe Coupee Central High campus

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board likely will hold a special meeting next month after unanimously delaying votes Thursday on several agenda items related to moving Pointe Coupee Central High students to Livonia High in the fall.

Some of the ideas mentioned for the PC Central High campus include having it become a satellite campus for Baton Rouge Community College, or having it become a local career academy, or making it the lone high school for the parish.

The consolidation of the student bodies is being forced by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady’s April 7 decision to close Pointe Coupee Central at the request of the state’s Recovery School District. The RDA asked the court in March to return jurisdiction of the school to the School Board. The state had failed to improve the struggling school’s academic performance during the six years the school was operated under the state’s umbrella.

The consolidation has ignited an outcry from residents who want PC Central to remain open and be used as the parish’s lone high school. They say that campus, rather than the Livonia campus, could better accommodate the influx of students the consolidation will entail.

The board delayed its vote Thursday to consider leasing between eight to 10 modular buildings for the Livonia campus to help with increased enrollment the school will see in the 2014-15 school year.

The consolidation will send 180 PC Central students to Livonia, in addition to more than 300 students who will matriculate to Livonia from various elementary schools throughout the parish.

The School Board tabled the item so Superintendent Linda D’Amico could get price quotes, rather than just estimates, on the modular structures.

The School Board’s vote on the modular buildings could be affected by a proposal to keep PC Central open as a career academy in the fall.

Brady also ordered the School Board to submit a plan to the court within six months outlining the district’s planned use of the PC Central campus and student assignments for the 2015-16 school year.

The Rev. Larry Oliver, a former principal at PC Central before it was under RSD control, presented the board with a detailed plan to keep Pointe Coupee Central open in the fall as a career and technology program featuring college and career-oriented curricula.

“Even though the board was given six months … why wait six months?” Oliver asked the board. “Why not take a plan that’s ready right now? This can be accomplished if we work together.”

D’Amico told the board that she already has had preliminary discussions with officials from Baton Rouge Community College who expressed interest in partnering with the school district to turn PC Central into one of its satellite career-readiness academies.

“What is the implementation time schedule? Can this be done by 2014-15 school year?” board member Thomas Nelson asked.

D’Amico responded, “It’s possible, but very difficult. It depends on how fast BRCC can come (on board).”

D’Amico said she hopes to meet with BRCC officials next week to iron out more of the details.

Board President Frank Aguillard said he likely will call a special meeting in early May to discuss a plan for the PC Central campus and to entertain a vote on the modular buildings at Livonia High.