DONALDSONVILLE — In a bid to find a new home for the city’s Head Start program, Ascension Parish School Board member Robyn Penn Delaney said Tuesday that she would like the school system to close Donaldsonville Primary and rebuild it farther from CF Industries.
Delaney said she will propose the School Board make a three- to five-year plan to move Donaldsonville Primary, which sits along La. 3089 less than a mile from the expanding CF Industries fertilizer complex.
She said that once a replacement for the school is built, the school system could then move Head Start, which is at a standalone location on Lee Avenue, to the new school.
Delaney, who has pushed to have the Head Start program within another school instead of by itself, said she had considered moving Head Start to Donaldsonville Primary but didn’t want to bring more young children closer to the plant.
“I couldn’t in good conscience ask the board to vote in favor of bringing Head Start children, 100-plus, to that site when you bring them closer to the plant,” the first-term board member said Monday night during a lightly attended community meeting at Donaldsonville City Hall.
The meeting came after a day of severe weather and continued storm warnings urging residents to stay off the roads.
Delaney pointed out that Donaldsonville Primary, the current Head Start building and other west bank schools are slated for renovations under a $100 million bond issue voters approved several years ago.
Delaney said the school system would probably have to go ahead and do them because they were part of the bond issue. She added that CF has been at its location since the mid-’60s — and has been a great community partner — and Donaldsonville Primary wasn’t opened until the late ’80s.
Of the dozen or so residents who did show up for the meeting, some aired complaints about bus drivers speeding through their neighborhoods, unnamed principals who chronically did not show up for after-school events and discipline problems in the schools.
Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan said he has been told the teachers are having children with discipline problems sent back from the office because school administrators are trying to limit the number of suspensions in a year.
“In order to stay under or reach that goal (on suspensions), you have to tolerate some things that you shouldn’t have to, and I don’t think that’s right,” Sullivan said.
Delaney promised to look into those and other issues raised Monday.
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