Mar 20, 2013 7:35 PM by Chris Welty
A Lafayette Parish School Board Member is questioning whether a program designed to keep kids in the classroom at N.P. Moss Prepatory Academy is really working.
He became alarmed after a recent visit to the school.
School Board Member Mark Babineaux is questioning how effective alternative programs are at N.P. Moss Prep, in particular the Team Learning Center. The center is a last resort for students in the parish who are suspended.
"It's estimated some where between 50 and 75 percent in anyone day are not attending," said Babineaux.
Superintendent Pat Cooper says the center is optional, parents can either send their students to the center or their kids can stay home.
"If it is sixty percent than it is, but that's what I would have to say is normal because that's what the parents are choosing to do."
Babineaux wants an evaluation to see if the program is worth keeping. He says the budget is tight and if it's not helping students it's time to consider other options. He toured the program recently and says only 11 of the 40 students who should have attended the school's alternative suspension program were there and only one was working on school work.
"I understood it from the very beginning this would be mandatory. You're not going home, you're going to stay in school and do your work."
Babineaux is questioning Cooper's 100 percent in and 100 percent out policy. Cooper maintains the program is working.
"If we can save half of them, then we've done far better than we've ever done in the past," said Cooper.
N.P. Moss Prep Principal Jody Duhon released rough numbers to KATC saying since the beginning of the school year, sixty to seventy percent of students have completed the Team Learning Center and thirty to forty percent did not complete the program for various reasons.
KATC is still working to obtain hard numbers for out-of-school suspensions and attendance at N.P. Moss Prep. The most recent information on the Louisiana Department of Education website shows 12 percent of Lafayette Parish Students received out-of-school suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year which is higher than the state average of 9.6 percent.