News alert: State denies requested EBR school changes
The Louisiana Department of Education has denied the East Baton Rouge Parish School System's requests to revamp two low-scoring schools, putting Delmont Elementary and Mayfair Middle at risk of state takeovers. In a letter to EBR Superintendent Bernard Taylor, State Superintendent John White says the proposed plan "forcibly moves hundreds of [students] to different school sites with no guarantee of admission to a school with a strong track record," and "seeks to expunge the record of struggles for which the sate's accountability system holds the East Baton Rouge School Board responsible." The letter continues an ongoing feud, with White arguing that EBR is moving students around to boost grades of troubled schools and avoid state takeovers, while the system says its changes serve valid academic purposes and are made openly with community input. Delmont, which serves pre-K through fifth grade, would have been converted to a new school serving only pre-K and kindergarten, while Mayfair would have become Mayfair Laboratory, serving kindergarten through eighth grade, the letter says. The schools have received "F" grades from the state for three years in a row; another year of "academically unacceptable" status could leave either school subject to being taken over by the state. The department approved several other requested changes, including the closure of Wyandotte Early Childhood Center. An EBR spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment. —David Jacobs
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