Morehouse Parish School District Changes Spark Bus Concerns

MOREHOUSE PARISH (KTVE/KARD) --  With the trimming of several million dollars off the Morehouse Parish School District's upcoming budget, plenty of changes were made.

Southside Elementary School was closed.

Other elementary schools consolidated their grades.

All schools are going to a four-day school and work week.

One Bastrop charter school is having to make their own change to help their students.

While not under district jurisdiction, Beekman Charter School pays the district for lunch and bus services.
Beekman's 16-year principal, Roy McCoy, said they won't be changing to a four-day week like the other schools, but they will be making a big change for their buses.

"We have contracted with a transportation company to provide bus service for Beekman Charter School," Principal McCoy said.

It would be their own bus system for the more than 800 Tiger students they teach.
However, district officials said this decision comes with a loss of revenue.

"It will be a loss of about probably $500,000 for the district," said District Business Manager Derenda Flowers.

Now, Flowers said more savings will have to be found.

"If we're serving fewer students, maybe constricting class sizes there or transferring people around. It's an ongoing process. It's never over," she said.

Principal McCoy said Beekman is expanding, going to Pre-K through 12th Grade this year.
The school is far away from the others, sitting near the Louisiana-Arkansas border.
With that distance and their schedule staying at five days a week, McCoy said the school is thinking of educational quality and convenience for the students' families.

"Students having to catch a bus at their home, go to one school, change buses, kind of in the same way you change planes in Atlanta no matter where you're going, which is time that they can't study. They can't rest," he said.

Though the changes to the Morehouse Parish School District are far from settled, both McCoy and district officials are certain of a hopeful future.

"I think we can be a great school district and I think we will be, but it's an ongoing process," Flowers said.

"The Morehouse Parish School System has done a lot for us and we're certainly grateful," said McCoy."I think that the future is bright and that we all go forward."

Cost savings are expected for Beekman in this new bus system, but the numbers aren't out yet.

McCoy said Beekman will still have lunch services with the district and this new bus system is only a trial run this year.

He said the school will try it and then decide for the future.

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