St. John School Board plans change in attendance rules

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 21, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE -Allowing a child to attend a school outside of his her school zone may get a little more difficult, if the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board can change how it is handled.

At the school board meeting Thursday night Superintendent Michael Coburn proposed a recommendation to no longer accept the usage of Provisional Custody by Mandate, a document that has allowed some students to attend a school not in the attendance zone of their guardians or parents.

In a memo by Robert R. Schaff, Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance, it is stated that it has become an increasing problem in the parish and the situation is “now at crisis.”

Though the parish has mandated attendance zones, parents have found ways to evade them so they can send their children to the school they think is best. This is done by pretending to place them in the custody of someone who is in the attendance zone.

The school board routinely tries to verify that a child lives at the address indicated, but finds that it is difficult to enforce, according to Schaff.

The memo singled out LaPlace Elementary School as one of the most affected by Provisional Custody by Mandate (PCM) citing overcrowding and traffic problems in the morning and afternoon.

According to the informa-tion provided by Schaff, PCM ended in St. Charles Parish due to “an attempted influx from other neighboring parishes and between schools within the district.”

It also stated that Desoto Parish is “having a nightmare with this policy.”

Schaff recommended that PCM no longer be issued to parent’s whose children are attending a school outside their school zone, and the school board should only accept papers signed by a judge. The policy would be in affect for 2005-2006 school year.