Worried about potential confusion from the vote to create a new City of St. George, East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake on Wednesday night issued a robocall to parents of public schoolchildren to let them know the vote changes nothing for them.
“After several questions about the vote, I wanted to assure you that the vote to create the new city did not create an independent school system,” Drake said in the robocall, sent about 6 p.m. Wednesday. “The school system boundaries remain the same, and all students will be able to stay in the schools they currently attend.”
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The belief a new St. George city would automatically lead to a new St. George school district has persisted throughout the six years of the incorporation effort, despite many attempts to bat it down.
Drake said he was particularly concerned about confusion among schoolchildren worried they might have to change schools right away.
“I just want to prevent any anxiety among students,” he said.
Drake said he’d already been thinking prior to Saturday’s election that he might send out a parent robocall. He settled on the idea post-election after hearing from a board member who received a couple of phone calls from worried constituents and saw incorrect information shared on social media. He said he also sent an email Monday to all school system employees with the same information.
Former East Baton Rouge School Superintendent Clayton Wilcox made a prediction when Central leaders went to the Legislature in 2004 and asked …
“We just want everybody to understand that nothing has changed right now,” Drake added.
That could change. Like Central, St. George supporters hope to parlay their success in creating a city into creating a new school district that would be broken off from the parish school system.
To do that, though, they will have new, perhaps more difficult, hurdles to surmount. Completing the path that Central took, they would need to persuade two-thirds of both chambers of the Legislature to approve a statewide referendum to amend the state Constitution. That amendment would need to pass not only across the state, but in all of East Baton Rouge Parish.