OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish School Board agreed Thursday to spend $94,000 to lease portable buildings to address what school officials called “deplorable conditions” at Palmetto Elementary.
Assistant Superintendent Joseph Cassimere told the board the school is no longer suitable or safe for the students who attend classes there.
Although only six weeks remain in the school year, Cassimere said upgraded classroom conditions at the school are needed immediately.
Board President Anthony Standberry said continuing the use of the classroom building at the school is an untenable situation.
“I was there two years ago, and I couldn’t see why they were still housing students in that building. The termites have taken over, and it’s ready to fall down if you walk into one of the walls,” Standberry said.
Board member Candace Gerace said 274 students attend Palmetto Elementary.
Cassimere and Superintendent Edward Brown said there have been initial discussions among school officials about finding a more comprehensive solution for students who attend Palmetto Elementary and other schools on the north end of the parish.
Cassimere said it will cost $20,950 to set up the buildings in addition to another $73,752 for a two-year lease.
Costs for installing plumbing, electricity and building foundations for the portable buildings can be done by labor contracted by the district, Cassimere said.
In another matter, the board listened to a presentation by Richard Lucito, who spoke as a representative for Citizens Committed to Public Education in St. Landry Parish.
The board took no action after Lucito recommended the district perform what he called a comprehensive study and develop a system-wide improvement plan.
Lucito said the board should consider hiring a consulting firm to scrutinize such issues as facilities, discipline, curriculum, public relations and parental involvement.
The board took no action on the matter, which was on the agenda for discussion only.