St. James schools safe for now

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 23, 2013

By David Vitrano

LUTCHER – After four rounds of intense community meetings, the St. James Parish School Board has apparently decided not to move forward with planned closures at Fifth Ward Elementary and Lutcher Elementary at this time.
“I am glad a decision has been made so that we can move forward with staffing and preparing for the next school year,” said St. James Public Schools Superintendent Alonzo Luce.
At the community meetings held so far, all of which were well attended, scores of citizens pleaded with the School Board to reconsider closing the two schools, each of which has a dwindling student population and is, therefore, less cost effective to run than schools with higher student populations.
According to a release from the School Board issued Friday, “The School Board will continue to watch the student population trends at each school.”
Closing the two schools would have left each side of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish with two elementary schools.
As a result of the decision, the two remaining scheduled community meetings have been canceled.