DONALDSONVILLE — The Ascension Parish School Board may be calling a bond election possibly in 2016 to fund a new high school, a new middle school and three new primary schools.
Right now, though, the board is in the exploratory phase.
“We have an increasing student population and aging facilities,” Superintendent Patrice Pujol said at the School Board’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday. “We’re still growing exponentially every year, with 400 to 600 kids still coming in every year.”
Chad Lynch, planning and construction director for the district, said they also are studying the need for classroom additions at Dutchtown Primary and Lowery Middle.
The school system’s 21,000 students are housed among four high schools, seven middle schools, 16 elementary schools, a Head Start Center and an alternative school.
The school district’s bond attorney, Jerry Osborne, told the committee the process to get a bond proposal on the ballot usually takes five months.
The School Board will be discussing the issue at the committee level for the time being. The board would still need to prioritize the projects that would be funded by the bonded debt and arrive at the amount of the bond issue.
Voters last passed a bond initiative in 2009, when they approved a $100 million bond issue, repaid with property taxes, for major renovations of district schools and the building of a number of new schools.
At the regular School Board meeting that followed Tuesday’s committee meeting, the board honored the Donaldsonville High students who created a winning public service announcement for TV on the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
The video created by nine Donaldsonville High students got the first-place nod in a parishwide contest.
The contest was one of the ideas that came out of this year’s Leadership Ascension class, a program of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce that develops concepts to improve the community.
“As a high school campus, we have experienced the effects” of synthetic marijuana,” Donaldsonville High Principal Marvin Evans said at the School Board meeting.
Two years ago, he said, two students required emergency medical attention because of the drug.
“So, when I received the invitation from Leadership Ascension, I didn’t hesitate to enter our school,” Evans said.
The Donaldsonville High team’s winning video — which simply and effectively compares the outcomes of two very different life choices, becoming a winning student athlete or becoming a statistic of synthetic marijuana — will be shown as a trailer before movies at the Malco Theater in Gonzales, Evans said.
The video will also appear on local NBC and Fox affiliate stations, he said.
The Donaldsonville High students who created the video are Shaun Brown, Xenet Carter, Daja Cox, Esarrah Hopkins, Kevonne Landry, Josephine Pollard, Tyrielle Thomas and Jason Williams.
Also on Tuesday, the School Board announced that Marjorie Meyers, formerly the principal of Pecan Grove Primary, has been named an instructional leadership partner for the district.
She will be working with Gonzales Middle and G.W. Carver Primary.
Meyers will be taking the place of longtime educator Shelia Savoy, who worked in several different areas over 33 years with the school district, and is now retiring.
“You have made such a tremendous impact on the life of kids, for many, many years,” Pujol told Savoy.
The new principal of Pecan Grove Primary will be Amy Champagne, formerly assistant principal at Duplessis Primary.
Also, Paul Sampson has been named assistant principal at Lowery Middle.