Letter: Bodi White, St. George proposal are wrong

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS. Sen. Bodi White speaks during a Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon in February 2012. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS. Sen. Bodi White speaks during a Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon in February 2012.

In response to the petition article from Nov. 26, about the collection of signatures to try and create a new East Baton Rouge city called “St. George,” I believe state Sen. Bodi White “doth protest too much” when he says, “Nobody’s killing the parish,” and “It’s not a color issue.” If White and people who agreed with him really cared about education and improving our school system, he and they would work to improve all of our schools for East Baton Rouge Parish public school students.

Instead, he wants to artificially carve out a large area of EBR, especially including the more affluent parts of the parish, and make something like a gated community called “St. George.” And then take the considerable tax base from the Mall of Louisiana and Perkins Rowe, and only use it for 10 schools, not for the total 82 schools in EBR parish, since all residents in our parish patronize these two huge shopping and entertainment centers. His intentions are monumentally unfair and wrong. There is no good reason to carve out a separate “city” and have a separate school system. Those 10 schools within that area are already wonderful schools, and they are improving every year, for all the current and future students who attend them.

But there are also many excellent schools in other parts of the parish, such as Baton Rouge Magnet High, McKinley Middle Magnet, Sherwood Middle Magnet, the Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet, and the great Montessori Schools at Dufrocq and Belfair. Right now, students from all over the parish can attend these schools, but that would end if “St. George” were to become a separate school district.

If White and his associates were to succeed in this unnecessary and destructive endeavor, an already financially struggling EBR parish would be economically devastated, and our hard-working public school system would be destroyed. Every good, intelligent and caring resident of EBR, and every legislator should understand this, and should stand up to White and others like him, and explain to them why this plan is so wrong, and must not happen.

Ellen Bander

school librarian

Baton Rouge