OUR OPINION: New schools look to solve same problems

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Friday’s beginning of the school year for Ascension Parish public school students will not only be the start of classes, but it will also be the start of something more.

It will be the start of an attempt to make things better for our children.

Along with the established schools throughout the parish, two new primary schools will open their doors to students for the first time Friday – Pecan Grove Primary School in Gonzales and Prairieville Primary School in Hobart.

The new schools are the first to open in the parish since the opening of Lowery Elementary and Intermediate Schools in Donaldsonville. Thanks to the passage of a tax issue by voters in 2005, Pecan Grove and Prairieville primary schools will take the mantle as the new kids on the block, at least until next year when two more schools are set to be opened.

Necessity brought these schools into being. With the parish bursting at the seams in terms of public school enrollment, something had to be done. The School Board devised a plan to build five new primary schools on the east bank of the parish to handle the explosive growth issues.

The school sites are now all finalized but one, and that one looks to be sealed at tonight’s board meeting.

Unfortunately, another issue reared its head after all was said and done with the tax issue. With schools in the Dutchtown feeder system experiencing tight quarters, including classes having to be held in a gymnasium at Dutchtown Middle School, another plan had to be devised to alleviate the growth issues there. So, the board voted to use system fund balance dollars to build Central Primary School, which will be located across from the current Central Middle School, to help ease overcrowding at Dutchtown Primary and Middle schools.

While some do not agree with the redrawing of district lines in regards to the added schools, none of us must forget that the education of our youth is vital for the continued growth and development of Ascension Parish. With that growth comes necessary change. While we may not agree with the change, we must not lose focus on what brought many here in the first place – education.

Sunday, Pecan Grove Primary held a dedication ceremony to open the campus. We wish Pecan Grove and Prairieville primary schools, as well as all other schools in Ascension Parish, a safe and successful school year. We have all the faith in the world that they will continue to show why Ascension Parish is known for a quality education system that brings people here in droves.