NEW ROADS — The future of Pointe Coupee Central High School remains uncertain after the School Board on Thursday night again delayed making a decision, opting instead to set another special meeting to determine a new course for the now-vacant school.
Much of the discussion surrounding what to do with the campus, which closed this summer, was held behind closed doors Thursday since the matter is tied to a decadeslong desegregation case.
But after the executive session, board President Frank Aguillard announced the board would revisit the issue during an Oct. 2 meeting.
“I think we’re close,” he said. “We’re not going to just jump into anything. We want to make sure it’s right. We don’t want to make any of the same mistakes we did in the past.”
The future of PCCH has been controversial since its forced shutdown by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady. The state’s Recovery School District, which ran the school for six years, asked the court in March to return jurisdiction of the school to the parish school system after the state failed to improve academic performance.
Students who were attending PCCH were transferred this fall to Livonia High School.
Brady also ordered the School Board to submit a plan to the court within six months outlining the district’s planned use of the campus for the 2015-16 school year. The board has until Oct. 22 to submit that plan to the court.
Aguillard expressed confidence after Thursday’s regular meeting that the board would meet that deadline.
Superintendent Linda D’Amico in July presented board members with a proposal to transform Central into an early college/career academy that would offer students an extensive number of dual-enrollment opportunities. The tiered program would give students the opportunity to earn high school diplomas and associate degrees simultaneously or industry-based certification that could jump-start their entry into the workforce.
But after a barrage of criticism at a meeting on Monday, D’Amico decided to pull back her proposal to make some revisions.
Several board members slammed the superintendent’s proposal for Central saying it lacked extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts, while others doubted it would attract enough diversity to a campus that has been historically attended mostly by black students.
Insufficient diversity would result in the court rejecting a plan, attorney Bob Hammonds previously informed the board.
The board was presented with a revised proposal from D’Amico on Thursday night before going into executive session.
In her revamped proposal, the superintendent added liberal arts certifications and associate degree curricula, as well as stipulations that any students attending the proposed academy may participate in sports offered at Livonia High.
But a group of residents calling themselves the Concerned Citizens for Education in Pointe Coupee presented the board with an alternative plan that involves transforming Central into a theme-based academy without the enrollment caps and admission requirements included in the superintendent’s proposal.
Joetta Hunter, spokeswoman for the group, said transforming Central into a theme-based academy would build morale within the community and give students the opportunity to choose their own paths.
A few theme-based curricula Hunter suggested in her proposal were fine arts, communications, public service, and math and science.
“We can no longer operate the way we have and think we’re going to be successful,” Hunter told the board. “Too many times we’re hearing about complaints with the school system.”
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