Denhamtown school set to close

Published 5:38 am Saturday, March 25, 2017

Denhamtown School will close next year, with a proposal to house pre K-4 through first grade students at Byrd Avenue, second through fifth grade students at Central Memorial, and students in grades six through 12th at Bogalusa High School, according to Bogalusa City School Board President Curtis Creel.

“That’s the plan, and it can work,” he said.

Creel said that early last year, unexpectedly, Superintendent Toni Breaux presented the board with a proposal to close Denhamtown, but he felt the issue was too hurried.

“And it was one of the few things that the board — not the superintendent — still determined, how many schools and their locations,” he said.

Creel blames the cost of utilities and insurance for the school closure.

“The reason being, as I see it, this is a very small school district, the population is declining, and when you lose population, you lose children,” he said. “We have not been able to attract business, and it’s hard to attract people in general.

“And let’s face it, Northshore Charter School is just killing us. The charter school gets 1.9 million local dollars a year that used to come to us. On top of that, it gets $3.3 million from the MFP (Minimum Foundation Program).”

Deloris Walker, director of finance for the Bogalusa City Schools, verified Creel’s statistics.

The Minimum Foundation Program is a formula established to determine the cost of a minimum program of education in all public elementary and secondary schools, essentially what it costs to provide each Louisiana student with the minimum educational foundation for future success. The resulting calculation is then used to distribute funds among parish, city and other local school systems.