Land swap clears way for school’s service road

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2003

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Reporter

LULING – A land swap in St. Rose resulted in clearing the way to build a service road into the rear of St. Rose Elementary School at the board’s Aug. 13 meeting. However, the move came under considerable criticism.

The deal involved R. Bend LLC, the developer of River Bend Subdivision immediately adjoining the school on the upriver side, to receive 10 acres of land and gain two lots totaling two-fifths of an acre for their emergency access road linked to Rue Landry Street.

District Five Parish Council Member April Black spoke out against the action, and commented, “I was a little insulted” to be so totally left out of the negotiations or even notification.

“I didn’t know it had gone this far,” Black said “I feel there’s a lack of communication between the parish and the board, and I’m disappointed.”

Black, herself an employee of the St. Charles School District, noted the property is land-locked and she had already tabled action to dedicate the street at the parish end.

Board members insist they got the best end of the deal, disposing of unusable acreage while obtaining a vital access for emergency vehicles and buses. The road would normally be gated, so as not to allow it for everyday use.

R. Bend originally asked for $132,000 for its two lots, plus another $40,000 to build the access road. Now, no money will exchange hands.

Having the access road would speed up evacuation of the school, in case of an emergency, for both Albert Cammon Middle and St. Rose Elementary, said Larry Sesser, executive director of physical plant services.

In other matters, the board approved a resolution recommending that the state Department of Education not use more than 5 percent of any one school district’s Distinguished Educators to assist academically unacceptable schools.

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education implemented the Distinguised Educators Program. However, 11 of the 38 Distinguished Educators participating in the program, representing 29 percent, are administrators and educators from St. Charles Parish.

“The selection process and timelines create a disruption in planning and continuity of services for the children of St. Charles Parish,” the resolution read.

Participants this year include teachers Heidi Campbell, Robert Logan, Jacquelyn Markey, Gary Robichaux, Joan Tuttle, Deidre Winkler and Jim Dukes; specialist Alice Sumler; administrative assistant Anna Faye Marciante; assistant principal Kevin Guitteriez; and principal Henry Shepard.