In 1998 the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish approved a five-year collection of a one-cent sales tax to improve public education.The tax raised nearly $300 million for facility improvements, discipline programs, and employee compensation.
With the facilities improvement portion of the tax, four news schools were built; NortheastElementary School, NortheastHigh School, Woodlawn High, and opening this August, the new CapitolMiddle School.(See accompanying news posting:New Capitol Middle Opens Doors for Learning.)These four schools represent the first new construction of public schools in East Baton Rouge Parish in nearly thirty years.
“The new school has done wonders for morale,” said Woodlawn High School Principal John McCann.“The students have taken ownership in it and they’re proud of their school, and the teachers and staff are really excited to be here.” McCann said.
The facilities improvement plan also called for the construction of four-classroom “quads” which were built at 22 schools across the district.New roofs and canopy repairs and replacements were done at 77 schools.Heating and air conditioning systems were updated at 74 facilities.Fire alarm systems were replaced at 24 schools.Vent hood systems were replaced at 31 schools.
All facilities received upgrades in electrical service, plumbing and restroom repairs, one set of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant restrooms, and the correction of all life safety code violations.All schools in the district received computer technology improvements; network drops in every classroom at a ration of 1 drop for every 5 students, and a dedicated power supply for network drops.
All facility improvement projects in the five-year plan were completed on time and at or under budget.The completed projects have stabilized the physical condition of the school district’s facilities which had suffered from decades of neglect.“We’re comfortable in our classrooms, with our teachers, with each other,” said Amanda Sager, 2004 Woodlawn High graduate.“We’re excelling because we’re not sitting in a classroom or a school we don’t want to be in.”
The discipline and alternative education portion of the tax-plan is intended to improve discipline in the classroom, provide alternative education for disruptive students, and reduce truancy.The tax funds 57 elementary school time-out rooms and coordinators and the elementary discipline center at the Mohican Education Center, the three tax-supported discipline centers for middle and high school students, and the truancy center which opened in 1999 and is staffed by child welfare and attendance officers, support personnel, and a law enforcement officer.You can help reduce truancy by reporting truants.Call the truancy center at 355-2363.
The employee compensation portion of the tax has funded pay supplements for teachers and other school system employees.This supplement has improved the district’s ability to recruit and retain teachers.In the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, 96.7% of the teachers are either state certified or highly qualified by federal No Child Left Behind definition.
In May of 2003 by a three to one margin, the voters of East Baton Rouge renewed the collection of the one-cent sales tax for another five years.This plan calls for the construction of seven new schools; new elementary schools on the Winbourne site, in the southeast part of the parish, in the midtown area, on the old Capitol Middle site, and new middle schools at Central Middle, McKinley Middle Magnet, and in the southeast part of the parish.Major renovations are planned for Scotlandville High, McKinley High, Baton Rouge Magnet High, Scotlandville Middle which will be converted to an elementary school, and the CentralHigh School athletic complex.Classroom improvements, additions, and renovations are planned for Forest Heights Academy of Excellence (formerly Forest Heights Elementary,) Westdale Heights Academic Magnet (formerly Westdale Elementary,) La Belle Aire, and Park Forest Elementary Schools.Classroom improvements and minor facility renovations are planned for 20 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 6 high schools.All facilities will receive ongoing facility maintenance consisting of air conditioning and heating system maintenance, roof maintenance and warranty management, and repairs to preserve the current operational viability of the site and prevent further depreciation of the buildings and grounds.All schools in operation will receive technology upgrades consisting of modern computer workstations, core routers, network switches, and uninterruptible power supply units.
The discipline and compensation portions of the plan will continue for another five years, thanks to the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish.
The work in these two five-year plans represents both the stabilization and rejuvenation of the district’s schools and facilities.The new and renovated schools are providing educational spaces more conducive to learning and teaching, have improved safety and security, and increased technology accessibility.The people who make up the East Baton Rouge Parish School System are dispelling the notion that we are yesterday’s school system.Many families have recognized the improvements and are choosing public schools for their children’s education.The East Baton Rouge Parish School System welcomes you as we work toward bringing today’s students, and the student’s of tomorrow, into the future.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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