Natchitoches Parish board delays decision on whether to close Cloutierville school

Natchitoches again debating fate of Cloutierville school

NATCHITOCHES PARISH, LA (KSLA) - For the second time in a year, the fate of Cloutierville Elementary & Junior High is in the hands of the Natchitoches Parish School Board.

School Board members Thursday night tabled a vote on whether to close the school and decided to visit the campus next week.

If all this sounds familiar, that's because it is.

Friday will mark the one-year anniversary of the most recent time the board came together to talk about closing the school.

In 2017, the school got a reprieve.

Board President Michael Hilton said this time could be different.

"I don't know anybody's metric that says it's a good thing to spent $14,000 per student just to keep a building open."

During the meeting Thursday, board member Ralph Wilson repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked if they could also visit other schools as well.

His efforts did not go unnoticed.

"I think that the president has his mind made up," said Rosa Shields, a school supporter.

"He's not considering any other schools. He has Cloutierville on the brain and that's it."

Hilton agreed his mind is made up, but only after looking at the numbers.

"We're talking about a projected enrollment next year of less than 100 students. And it's costing ... We would save $1.4 million by closing that school."

For some Cloutierville school supporters, it's simply a matter of faith that it will survive for another academic year.

Among them is Warren Coker, a parent who spoke with KSLA News 12 immediately after the School Board meeting.

"God's gonna be all right. He's going to be with us."

When asked if the school will survive, Coker replied: "Yeah, I do."

School Board members plan to gather at the school at 10 a.m. Monday to closely examine the campus.

They then will hold a special meeting Thursday.

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.