Breaux, school board must work together for district’s benefit

Published 7:05 am Saturday, February 27, 2016

If the loud and lengthy argument between Bogalusa School Board President Curtis Creel and Superintendent Toni Breaux at Thursday’s school board meeting happened between students in a classroom, both would have been sent to the principal’s office. Community leaders who show little more self-control than children call into question their ability to lead.

And what we need now is leadership.

Breaux and her administration are leading the charge to consolidate the district with the idea it will save the district money. This may well be the best path forward.

However, Thursday Creel and others on the board brought up valid questions. Two very good questions include: Exactly how much money can the district expect to save? What will happen to the old building?

We don’t know the answer to either of these yet, but we need to know before we decide to consolidate.

In the past, when the district has shed school buildings, it has abandoned them and, today, the city is home to several crumbling, ruined former school buildings. In this, the district is no better than delinquent, irresponsible homeowners who, rather than pay their taxes and keep up their homes, simply abandon them and skip town.

In short, if the price of either maintaining the building and the school grounds or of demolition isn’t factored into the cost of consolidation, then the district’s consolidation plan is essentially planning for another eyesore and a burden on the neighborhood and the city at large. If that is the case, then the board should oppose consolidation.

If, on the other hand, the school district can show, with real numbers, how consolidation can save the school district money and they can offer a responsible plan for dealing with whatever property they no longer need, then the board owes it to the taxpayers to take the plan seriously.

School consolidations are not easy: jobs are lost, treasured institutions scrapped and traditions changed. But, when budgets are tight and schools sit half empty, consolidations become necessary.

If the board and the administration want to do what is best for the students, then they must demonstrate clear thinking, honest dialog and selflessness. We hope they will begin to demonstrate more of these qualities in the future.