Beauregard School Board approves $25M bid for new elementary school

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 10:05 PM CDT
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DeRidder, LA (KPLC) - The Beauregard Parish School Board voted to approve nearly $27 million in construction bids at Thursday night’s meeting.

BPSB voted to award a $24,940,000 bid to build a new DeRidder Elementary School and $2,040,000 for a new kindergarten four-classroom addition at East Beauregard. Though, not all school board members voted in favor of moving those projects forward.

“I was bothered Monday night because I felt like there was not a clear funding path that was laid out for us despite the fact this project [DeRidder Elementary] was considerably more expensive than we anticipated,” board member Garrett Green said.

Some parents in the parish are reluctant about how bond money is being spent.

“Any time they allot that much money from a bond to one school, that leaves a lot of other schools without the ability to get what they need,” a parent of South Beauregard students said.

Some parents tell 7News they’re frustrated at the lack of response getting the South Beau campus back on track after the hurricanes, saying that money could be better used.

“It’s not just South Beauregard that’s suffering,” the parent said. “Multiple schools across our parish are in detriment and need help.”

East Beauregard teacher Kim Nesom made comment at the meeting, explaining how much extra work and out of pocket cost she has endured to make repairs in her classroom and to help fill other roles in the school.

“I’m up here saying there are needs at every school that need to be addressed,” Nesom said. “Our school board basically had $50 million fall into their lap and it was a slap in the face to me and many other teachers that we were never ever considered in that original budget for that money.”

Many are asking if this is the right time to be spending all that money, specifically nearly $25 million on one school.

Using the bond toward both projects, board member Casey Jones said in the meeting it still leaves the school board short $7 million to fund them.

So, where does that money come from?

“We got $2 million in the land acquisition fund, but were now $5 million short. We take $5 million from the $12.5 that we have in reserve and it still leaves us with $7.5 in reserve,” Jones said.

Green tried to make a motion to defer the decisions on the bids to January when the new school board members start their term, but that did not carry and the motion to vote followed with five to two in favor. Green and Darrin Manuel voted against.