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Community college seeks space for classes in St. James Parish

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 21, 1998

LUTCHER – The St. James Parish School Board last week with officialsfrom the new River Parishes Community College to discuss plans for the college in the parish.

The River Parishes Community College is the newest college being developed in the state and is part of the community college system approved by voters during the Oct. 3 election. Classes are scheduled toopen in Ascension Parish in Fall 1999.

Dr. Joe Ben Welch, president of the River Parishes Community College, metwith Superintendent Walter Landry and members of his administration earlier this school year to discuss plans for the college. Officials haveleased space at the technical college in Sorrento and are also looking to use classrooms in schools along the Mississippi River to hold classes.

Welch made a presentation to the board to request permission to go to principals in the parish and ask to use classrooms in their schools during after-school hours.

“We would not affect your school day in any way,” Welch told the members of the board.

Welch pointed to a sign in the back of the board room that stated the system’s goal of “Quest for Excellence,” and said that is what the community college concept is all about. He said the college would teachthe basic general education course work such as freshman English, math and government. Academic credits earned at River Parishes CommunityCollege will be fully transferable to the four-year institution by the individual student, according to Welch.

The board unanimously approved Welch’s request to go to the principals.

In other business, the board granted permission to St. James ParishPresident Dale Hymel to develop a proposal to assume responsibility of the educational component of the parish detention center. Hymel said hehas talked to members of the state Board of Education about funding that could be available to the school system if its takes over the educational component. Currently, it costs $120,000 to run the educational componentwith $30,000 coming from Title I grants and the remaining balance from detention fees.

The board also approved a resolution endorsing Oct. 23-31 as Red RibbonWeek in the school system. The theme for the parish this year is “A Safeand Healthy Drug-Free St. James Parish.” A variety of activities areplanned during the week in the parish and school system, including a scavenger hunt and poster, essay and coloring contests.

The board also approved a resolution proclaiming Oct. 18-24 as NationalSchool Bus Safety Week and October as Child Net/Child Search Awareness Month.

In financial business, the board approved allocating $36,000 for computer repairs and computers for school principals’ offices.

The next meeting of the board will be held Oct. 27 at St. James HighSchool.

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