The Caddo Parish School Board is discussing whether to close Barret Paideia Academy and merge its attendance boundaries into Stoner Hill, Creswell and Arthur Circle at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. School officials say the decision to close Barret Paideia would support their strategic plan in right-sizing the district.
According to school officials, a decision about the possible closure of Barret Paideia will not be made Tuesday at their regular board meeting, but officials will be discussing how the potential closure would affect surrounding schools.
Barret's 2015-2016 enrollment is currently at 297 students.
Thelma Davis lives down the street from Barret Paideia Academy. She always imagined her grandson would go to this school, just like her son. "All the boys that grew up and are grown, used to go there," said Davis.
But the tradition could end if Caddo Parish School Superintendent Lamar Goree's plan to close the school gets approved by the school board.
"Well it is not nice because it is really hurting a lot of people," she is worried about students attending schools not in their neighborhood.
In a memo to the school board, Superintendent Goree is asking the board to approve of new attendance zones that would send the nearly 300 Barret students to Stoner Hill, Creswell, and Arthur Circle Elementary Schools.
The administration is also recommending the school property to be sold.
Bart Gould lives next to the school, "If it becomes a boarded up building that would almost be criminal," he said.
Gould doesn't want to see the historic building sit vacant. "My hope is we find some creative use for the building if it is not going to be used for the school," he said.
As for what happens to the students, Bart ultimately believes whatever is best is the right thing to do. "Sending the kids out into better schools may give them a better chance, a better education may start an upward spiral."
So how has the school been performing? A quick search on the Louisiana Department of Education website reveals Barret Paideia Academy has consistently received a failing grade over the past 5 years.
"For whatever reason they have not been meeting the standards that are necessary," said Gould, who admits he sent his daughter to a magnet school rather than sent her to Barret Paideia Academy.
If the school closure is approved, magnet students at Stoner Hill would have to return their home schools. ESL students will also be reassigned.
According to the closure proposal: there is capacity available at each school to accommodate the increased student population. Transportation will develop new bus stop locations. Child nutrition will adjust staffing to accommodate the increased student population if necessary.
The school board will vote on the whether to close the school and sell the building on May 17.
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