East St. John High ready for students

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 8, 2015

LAPLACE — East St. John High School received final approval this week from the state fire marshal and Department of Health & Hospitals — welcomed news as school district leaders host an open house this morning at the school.

A grand-reopening celebration takes place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. today at the ESJ campus located in Reserve on Airline Highway.

The high school, closed since Hurricane Isaac, opens to students Monday for the first day of classes.

School officials said today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony speakers include St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom, St. John the Baptist Parish School Board President Keith Jones, Superintendent Kevin R. George and East St. John High School Principal Cory Butler.

St. John the Baptist Parish School Board members met Thursday at Emily C. Watkins Elementary, where Keith Keller of Lincoln Builders, updated the Board on East St. John High’s renovation progress.

“Right now we’re just wrapping up punch list items and trying to get ready for Saturday morning,” Keller said. “As of (Thursday), all heating and cooling issues and control issues are behind us. The gym floor is the only major activity going on as we speak.

“The gym floor is scheduled to be complete on Sunday night. On Monday morning, we’ll put a rubber base in where the floor meets the wall and pull the plastic that is protecting the new bleachers.”

During the meeting’s closing “Board Items of Interest” section, District 2 School Board Member Albert Burl suggested the newspaper needed to publish a “retraction” concerning previous reporting of East St. John High School’s building approval process.

When asked by a L’OBSERVATEUR staff member after the meeting about the remark, Burl said he misspoke when using “retraction” and meant “update.”

In other business, District 8 School Board Member Russ Wise and Superintendent George disagreed briefly on what role School Board members should play in determining a school’s class schedule pertaining to seven periods a day or block scheduling.

Wise suggested the School Board be more aware and possibly vote on such a move at local high schools. George said those decisions should be left to school principals.

The disagreement came up during Board members’ discussion on proposed changes to the District’s Pupil Progression Plan, which passed Thursday with Wise entering the only “no” vote.

In response to shootings that took place off campus last weekend following a party Aug. 1 at East St. John Elementary School, George said he reached out to St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre and is hoping to have a one-on-one meeting.

“I’m asking for any additional information he could provide to us to make it, I guess in his opinion, safer,” George said.

Burl stressed to the public that any individual or group who wants to use a school facility must provide two uniformed security members, as per School Board policy.