The Baton Rouge Achievement Zone, formed by the Recovery School District (RSD), currently controls seven schools in Baton Rouge. The RSD took over these schools because the schools were deemed “failing” by the Louisiana Department of Education. Parents were then given the choice of sending their children to schools run by the RSD or choosing another school run by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS).

The student capacity of the seven RSD schools is 6,285. According to an RSD count conducted several months ago, there are 2,633 students attending these schools, indicating that the vast majority of parents in the seven schools chose another school run by the EBRPSS. It is incredibly inefficient for all of these school buildings to remain in the hands of the RSD when the majority of their former students have exercised choice and chosen to remain with the EBRPSS.

In light of the state’s budget situation and the frozen funding for public education, the taxpayers of Louisiana and East Baton Rouge Parish need to know our education officials are doing everything they can to use resources efficiently.

The consequences of this inefficient use of space by the RSD are particularly acute among middle school students, since two of the RSD schools are middle schools. Without access to these schools, middle school students in the EBRPSS are crammed into overcrowded classrooms and temporary buildings.

Meanwhile, the RSD is using Prescott Middle School, with a seating capacity for 1,000 students, as an administrative building. We urge the RSD to give this school building back to the EBRPSS. There are at least 2,652 empty desks at their other schools that could be turned into administrative space.

The superintendent of the RSD, Patrick Dobard, says he is committed to ensuring that “every student in Louisiana has access to a high-quality public school.” Dobard can demonstrate this commitment to parents across the EBRPSS by giving us back Prescott Middle School.

Belinda Creel Davis, president

One Community One School District

Baton Rouge