LAFAYETTE, LA — The Lafayette School Board will not pursue a way to decrease enrollment in one public school, at least not yet. Wednesday night, the board decided they need to know more before manipulating the numbers.
“Everyone take a breath. The tension here is too high”, District 4 board member Dr. Tehmi Chassion said as he tried to ease the room.
At Lafayette’s latest board meeting there was one issue everyone had something to say about. Should the parish take action to reduce enrollment at Southside High School?
Board Vice-President and District 5 board member Britt Latiolais submitted the item to the agenda. He said, “My intent is not to harm Southside, but to give Comeaux a voice and some insight into where their school is going”.
During the meeting, Jeremy Hidalgo who represents District 9 and most of Southside’s zone asked the council to defer, “I believe in my heart and soul, my job was to get as many of my constituents’ children into that school as possible”.
Latiolais pointed out the Comeaux High School’s significant drop, “This is a school that had 2,100 students. It’s now down to 11 and some change”.
Comeaux High currently has 12 hundred students. Southside High currently has 16 hundred students. Both schools have room for hundreds of more students, but speculative redistricting maps created earlier this year raised concern.
“When we heard that the redistricting was possible we looked at the maps and saw we had a 50-50 shot. I looked at my daughter and said, ‘Absolutely not. “, Dennis Roberts told the crowd during public comment. His daughter attends Southside High, and he canceled his lease and moved his family for the school his daughter wanted.
The board voted unanimously to defer any conversation of possibly manipulating school numbers until they have a larger picture of all the data.
Tommy Angelle, who represents District 2, said he wants students to go to the school they want. He agrees redistricting should be the last option the board considers, “Let’s not disrupt students just because one school has this many and the other school has this many. Let’s make it work”.