May 16, 2012 11:57 PM by Maddie Garrett

LPSB Approves NP Moss Renovation, Considers Reconstituting Northside

Lafayette Parish School Board took up two controversial issues Wednesday night as part of its turn around plan. The board moved forward with plans to renovated the NP Moss Opportunity School, formerly the NP Moss Annex.

The renovations will cost roughly $3.5 million and will be completed over the summer. The money is coming from funds already allocated in the budget.

The school will now be a place for all programs for children with behavior or discipline problems, as well as those with mental disabilities. The idea is to remove them from the traditional classroom setting and to provide those students with specialized teaching and care.

The vote on the renovation project was not unanimous though, as there were concerns over cost and the feasibility of putting problem students in one location.

"It's not necessarily the cost of doing it now, but the cost of upkeep over the years," said board member Mark Babineaux. "We'd hate for this pie in the sky to end up pie in the face as I said in the meeting."

But member Hunter Beasley, who has a background in teaching special education, said the central location would actually benefit students.

"Many children with disabilities succeed but many are also struggling with academics," said Beasley. "You get them to a sight where supports can come to them and provide that help, then you're going to see some success."

Another issue that was only introduced Wednesday night is the reconstitution of Northside High School. The proposal would allow the principal and her staff to select the faculty they need and want at the school. It would require all teachers to re-apply for their positions.

Teachers not asked back to northside next year would be displaced at other schools with openings.

"I think it's a good idea because we do need to address the issue now and not wait till we get in trouble with that school," said Beasley.

Babineaux said he too agrees with reconstituting Northside High, but would like to see more concrete plans before it goes to final approval.

"We do need a plan with an objective and a goal, not just simply a list of ideas," he said after the meeting.

The board was told those plans will be presented to them on paper within two weeks, when they will vote on reconstituting Northside at the next meeting.



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