DONALDSONVILLE — With a state law requiring that all public school buildings display the national motto "In God We Trust" going into effect in August, the Ascension Parish school district plans to have paper copies of the motto visible in schools while it looks into the cost of having a metal plaque bearing the motto in the front lobby of each school.

Act 410, passed by the state legislature in May 2018, calls for public school districts to display the motto "in each building it uses and in each school under its jurisdiction."

The law also says the school district can decide what type of display will be used, "with a minimum requirement of a paper sign."

Ascension Schools Superintendent David Alexander noted at the School Board meeting on Tuesday that it's possible the legislation might be challenged in court.

The law requires school districts be in compliance by the 2019-20 school year. It also requires that schools provide instruction on patriotic customs, including instruction on the national motto. 

Also on Tuesday, a motion failed in committee that would have made an exception to the district's policy on busing students to day care for the new school year only in order to help families affected by changed attendance zones. Those zones are changing with the opening of the new Bullion Primary school.

Current school policy says a school bus can bring students to a day care for before- and after-school care if the day care is within 100 feet of an attendance zone and if there is seating available on the bus. 

After attendance zoning changes earlier this summer, the families of 35 Prairieville Primary students learned that the day care they had used is now in the attendance zone for the new Bullion Primary. 

At Tuesday's transportation committee meeting, Director of Planning and Construction Chad Lynch said the families of 17 of those students have since made other plans.

School Board member John DeFrances made a motion, seconded by Jared Bercegeay, committee chairman, to make an exception to the current policy on busing to day care for the 2019-20 school year for the Prairieville Primary children affected by the attendance zone changes.

The motion failed 2-3, with committee members Julie Blouin, Marty Bourgeois and Scott Duplechein voting against it.

In other business, board members gave Lynch the go-ahead to have a piece of school district property at the corner of La. 44 and Cornerview Road in Gonzales appraised for a possible sale to the Ascension Parish government for a new skate park.

The parish closed the former skate park, on South Irma Boulevard in Gonzales, in mid-March to build a senior wellness center. 

Lynch told School Board members that the parish had approached him about possible school district sites available for sale to open a new skate park.

The site in question is an unused property a little under an acre near the School Board's soccer field on Burnside Avenue. The property is now used for tailgating for soccer games, and Lynch said it is possible a portion of the site could continue to be used for that if the parish buys the property.


Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.