UPDATE 03/21/23: LINCOLN PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) –The Coalition Against School Closures held a Join the Movement: Keep our Schools Open to speak against the Lincoln Parish School Board Consolidation project.

The meeting was held at the New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling. The coalition alleges the plan will further harm the Ruston community, especially the black community.

“So with the schools moving further out of the community it is going to affect, you know, who is it that it’s going to buy a house and put their kid on the bus at 6 O’clock or even before 6 O’clock,” said Jacqueline Sumlei, retired teacher and representative informer.

If the consolidation plan passes, Sumlei says she believes that doubling the size of students at the new building could affect students socially and academically.

“If the class sizes get larger that means that child is not going to have as much individual attention as they had before. And the social issue of moving away from your friends that they may not see at that middle school.”

School board member for district 1, Danielle Williams voted against the plan. She says she wants to make sure students receive a quality education.

“When you think about asking the citizens to pay $65 million, there should be focused groups. There should be from all as far as all ages and as far as even gender or even socioeconomic status. And there was no feasibility study to show how.”

The coalition will hold another meeting next Tuesday, March 28th at Mays Chapel CME in Ruston at 6 p.m.

LINCOLN PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Lincoln Parish School Board has proposed a plan to unify all four elementary schools into a K-5.

President of the Lincoln Parish School Board, Joe Mitcham says The sole purpose is to reduce the number of transitions for the students.

“Our young children, let’s say K-1 and K-2, they go to one school and then they go to another school for 3,4, and 5, and another school for 6, and another school for 7 and 8. By consolidating some of these schools they won’t have to change schools so often.”

The proposed plan intends to expand and renovate both Hillcrest elementary and Glenview Elementary schools. Mitcham says by expanding classrooms and parking lots, among other areas, it will be easier on the parents, and bus routes will be more efficient.

“Just the classroom size is large, and car and buses drop off places will be large also so the flow traffic is much safer for the kids and easier in and out for the parents and the buses.”

The $65 million proposed plan is funded by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. Mitcham says once extra wings are added to the building both faculty and students will be placed separately from other classrooms.

“They are going to have their own classes, so per student, per ratio to teachers, it would not change.”

On the other hand, Mitcham says both Cypress Springs Elementary and Ruston Elementary school don’t have enough land to expand, and rebuilding them would exceed the cost.

“Ruston elementary was built in the early ’50s. You basically will have to tear them down, and then where are those students going to go while you rebuild those schools for a couple of years?”

For the time being, parish residents will have the option to vote on the new millage proposal in April, and decide if the funds can be raised to proceed with the plan.

This is a developing story. KTVE will gather parents’ thoughts on this adopted plan.