RPSB: Major change made to ‘Better Facilities’ plan, school uniforms also discussed

School uniforms and the ‘Better Facilities’ strategic plan were both taken up at Tuesday’s Rapides Parish School Board Meeting.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:58 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - School uniforms and the ‘Better Facilities’ strategic plan were both taken up at Tuesday’s Rapides Parish School Board Meeting.

First up was the motion to form the ‘Better Facilities’ strategic plan advisory council. The plan would combine Phoenix Magnet and Rapides Academy with Bolton High School and would also see the eventual close of Alma Redwine and Horseshoe Drive elementaries, but there have been some changes to the proposal.

RPSB Superintendent Jeff Powell said the part of the motion that involves closing Alma Redwine and Horseshoe Drive elementaries is now off the table.

The advisory council, if adopted at the next board meeting, would be made up of four school administrators, four teachers, four parents and four stakeholders, who would focus solely on the creation of a pre-K through 12th-grade academic and performing arts academy on the Bolton High School campus.

Powell shared what the process would look like.

“If they were to adopt it, then we would immediately the next day, release this application. This Google survey would be for anybody and everybody who wants to be considered for selection of this committee,” he said.

James Lucas has a child enrolled at Bolton and another who teaches there. He shared that he still has some questions, but is feeling better than when the plan was first proposed.

“We have had time to talk about it as a community and decide what we thought would be a good idea,” said Lucas. “We have heard different ideas from different people. Nothing has been 100 percent. There have been multiple ideas passed around, and like they say, it is good dialogue.”

Next on the agenda, after receiving 8,000 responses on the proposal to modify or do away with school uniforms, the board took no action.

The survey results showed that an overwhelming majority of teachers, administrators, parents and students would like to see some changes to the uniform policy, but they do feel some type of policy should be in place. Those results will now be passed on to the “Discipline Policy Review Committee” for further consideration and could possibly be up for discussion at the May committee meeting.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for April 11.

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