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Morehouse Parish Residents Speak Out on Schools Reduction

Hundreds of people gathered at the Bastrop High School auditorium to talk to the Morehouse Parish School Board about a budget reduction plan.

BASTROP -- On Tuesday night, hundreds of people gathered at the Bastrop High School auditorium to talk to the Morehouse Parish School Board about a budget reduction plan.

The board needs to cut the budget by $3.8 million.

Superintendent Dr. George Noflin's plan would cut $3.4 million but it would also close two schools, Cherry Ridge Elementary School and H.V. Adams Elementary School.

The public came out to voice their dissent against that plan and offer their own.

"We have too many memories and too many children at H.V. Adams to be shut down," one H.V. Adams Elementary student told the school board.

"I hope you won't close Cherry Ridge. You already closed East Side and I had to move," said Cherry Ridge student Dylan Dunham.

Students and teachers alike brought signs and spoke out to save their elementary schools.

"Please listen to our most important asset, our children, before you close Cherry Ridge Elementary," said Cherry Ridge Principal, Dr. Kathy Adcock Fonte.

While no budget plan has been approved, many parish residents spoke their dissent against Noflin's plan to close two schools.

"The last two superintendents and previous board have closed five schools," said Bastrop Resident Ricky Anderson.

"This is the future that you are hurting. This is the future that you are messing with right now," another resident said.

Morehouse Parish Schools Instructional Technology Assistant Pam Walker came with her own plan.

"I just implore you to explore all options so that our jobs and our community schools can be saved," she told the board.

Her plan asked for only one school closure, no employee salary reductions, around 10 teacher terminations and even a four-day work week.

"Teachers are absent less. You don't have to employ substitutes because teachers come to work on a four-day work schedule," said Walker.

Walker says her plan will cut more than $2 million.

Board members told the people their concerns will be remembered.

"All we have is the budget to base on. That means we're looking out for the taxpayer's money and we're trying to spend it as wisely as possible," said District 4 Board Member Jeff Churchwell.

"Sometimes you have to throw information out there, adapt to it, bring about a conversation and that's the bottom line," explained District 7 Board Member Robert Fenceroy.

Noflin told KTVE/KARD no vote will come on any plan until possibly the board's next special meeting next Tuesday.




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