SE BR School District Offers Hope for Parish

SE BR School District Offers Hope for Parish

Should EBR Be a Parish Where There Is No Room For Working Mid-Income Families With Children?

by Woody Jenkins, Editor

BATON ROUGE — It was great to see the announcement that IBM will be moving an office here and hiring hundreds of workers.  It is also exciting to know that some of the plants along the Mississippi River will be expanding and hiring more employees.

But Baton Rouge must be more than a place to work.  It must also be a great place to live.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of families have been voting with their feet — by moving out of East Baton Rouge Parish.

As the Census figures show, the population of East Baton Rouge has grown by nearly 200,000 people in the past 40 years, but we actually have fewer school age children in our parish than we did 40 years ago.

That means families with children are leaving or have already left.

We desperately need a strategy to bring families back to this parish, because, ultimately, a place without children has no future.

The great thing about the proposed Southeast Baton Rouge Community School System is that it will give this community hope — hope that we can once again be a place where working, middle income families can afford to live, because there are great schools and a low crime rate.

Creating the Southeast Baton Rouge School System is not rocket science.  It’s already been done very successfully TWICE in this parish with the creation of the Zachary Community School System and the Central Community School System. The Zachary school system is now the No. 1 ranked school system in the state, and Central is ranked No. 5.

When those school systems were proposed, the naysayers claimed the “pull-out” would destroy the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.  What a joke!  The system was destroyed long ago by Judge Parker and the federal courts.

The Southeast school system will do exactly what the Zachary and Central school systems did — create a quality public school system for the people living in Southeast Baton Rouge.

One of the results will be people moving back to Baton Rouge to take advantage of these new schools.  The Southeast school system will also bring people back to the public schools.

The East Baton Rouge school system will be left with an enormous tax base.  Southeast has very little tax base, but it won’t take much.

Look at Central.  There is no industry.  There is only a small business community.  Yet, the Central school system has just built a $55 million school complex and has millions of dollars in the bank.

Why?  How?

Well, quite frankly, it’s run by conservative people who didn’t want to create a giant bureaucracy and pour money down the drain like some school systems have.

We should all rally around the people of Southeast Baton Rouge, just as we did for Zachary and Central.  Let’s see if they can’t do better than the East Baton Rouge school system is doing now.

I know they can!  After all, it’s already been done TWICE!

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