School board decides to close E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary due to low enrollment, declining performance scores

School to be consolidated with Creswell Elementary effective with the 2023-24 academic year
The Caddo Parish School board is considering the closure of an elementary school in Shreveport.
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 9:53 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 3:03 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Caddo Parish School Board decided late Tuesday (April 18) to close E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary in Shreveport.

On a 6-5 vote, the decision was to consolidate the school with Creswell Elementary effective with the 2023-24 academic year.


Steve Umling: yes

Jasmine Green: not present at vote

Terence Vinson: no

Don W. Little: no

Bonita Douzart: no

Mary Trammel: yes

Barbara Smith-Iverson: no

Christine Tharpe no

Barry F. Rachal: yes

Katie McLain: yes

Jessica Yeates: yes

Dottie Bell: yes

District 12 member Dottie Bell said she voted for the closure and consolidation for the sake of the children.

“I’ve been on the board 17 years. Never have I seen Stoner Hill community come out,” she explained. “If you care that much about it, then we should’ve been knowing about this and working it; but it wasn’t done. Don’t blame the board for what we’re doing. I’m voting for the children. They are missing out on resources.”

Some parents at Stoner Hill Elementary said they don’t want their kids to be moved to another school.

“Stoner Hill has the best special ed there. The teachers are like one big, happy family. If your child is struggling, not just one person try to help, everybody tries to help,” parent Sandy Boykin said. “There are problems at way more schools than they’re trying to solve problems at our school. We don’t need that. We’re good, we’re one big happy family.”

The school board will consider the consolidation of E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary with Creswell Elementary.

Superintendent Dr. T. Lamar Goree provided the following reasons for the consolidation:

  • Enrollment has decreased from 255 in 2015 to 166 students today
  • In 2016, when the Board closed Barret Paideia Academy, the Board added to Stoner Hill’s attendance zone, reassigning 143 students to the campus in an effort to increase enrollment. This was designed to right-size and result in a 57% increase of students to Stoner Hill. Instead, the student population went from 255 before the change (2015-16) to 270 the next year (2016-17) followed by continued declines each year thereafter.
  • Due to declines in enrollment, Stoner Hill currently has one class per grade level
  • Of the seven regular education classes, one is being taught by a teacher who is fully certified, five classes are being taught by teachers who are pursuing teacher certification, and one class is being taught by a long-term substitute
  • E.B. Williams Stoner Hill’s performance score has dropped by 17.8 points since 2018, including 7 points over the last year
  • Students scoring at or above grade level have declined by 18 percentage points in English and 23 percentage points in math over that same period. This is, in part, due to a large number of uncertified teachers that do not have the quality training, experience, or content knowledge to provide students with the instruction needed for success.
Stoner Hill Enrollment Analysis Attendance Zone Proposal Based on Oct. 1, 2022 Data
Stoner Hill Enrollment Analysis Attendance Zone Proposal Based on Oct. 1, 2022 Data(Caddo Parish Public Schools)

“We are committed to making no reduction in the workforce. No one will lose their jobs, and everyone will be placed somewhere else in our large district according to their qualifications,” said Dr. Goree.

As far as what will happen to the building, Dr. Goree told KSLA before the vote that the district takes pride in caring for closed properties.

“We will understand that this is taxpayer property, and within that respect, we’re ready to work closely with the taxpayers most affected so that we can make a good use of the property.”

Dr. Goree also promised a smooth transition.

“We do this very well. We have our attendance department, our human resources team, as well as our academic team that are well-versed in knowing how to do things quickly and seamlessly,” the superintendent said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association, Rachel Jackson, said she’s dedicated to preserving her community.

“That’s our only neighborhood school since Valencia closed a while ago. We don’t have another neighborhood school to feed off of. Keeping it is also important because we’re trying to revitalize our community. Taking away our schools would take away our ability to attract people to the neighborhood,” Jackson said.

Despite this, Jackson said she’s prepared to do what’s needed to make the situation work.

“All we’re asking for is some time, instead of having the school close so quickly this year. Give us a timeline and if these needs are met, we can bring it back to the table for closure,” she said. “What happens is gonna’ happen, and we will save the school.”

Dr. Goree said: “We will certainly work with the community to do everything that we can to support revitalization efforts or any efforts to ensure that the property is not a hindrance to the community.”