May 21, 2012 7:24 PM by Maddie Garrett
All of Lafayette Parish School's alternative programs will soon be on a single campus. It's the latest installment of the new superintendent's turnaround plan. The old NP Moss Annex will be the new NP Moss Opportunity School.
"It's an opportunity for a second chance to do well and to finish high school," said Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper.
Cooper said the renovated campus will house alternative programs for students with discipline, academic and behavior problems, children with disabilities and dropouts returning to school.
"These are the children who need the most help and we can consolidate not only the children in one place, but the resources in one place, more social workers, more nurses, more graduation coaches, whatever we might need to help these children," said Cooper.
The renovations will cost less than expected at roughly $3 million. That's down from the $9 million outlined in the master facilities plan. But some school board members are concerned about the cost per student.
Cooper said he doesn't think the cost per student would go much higher than $9,000. But a similar alternative school he started in Mississippi had to be shut down because the costs rose to about $25,000 per student.
"I think it will probably be a logistical nightmare, as well as a financial burden," said LPSB Member Mark Babineaux about the Opportunity School.
Another worry he has is putting elementary and high school students on the same campus.
"I don't know if it's wise to mix these age groups," said Babineaux.
The NP Moss Opportunity School will open this fall, but renovations won't be fully completed until later in the semester.