MONROE, La. (4/19/19) — 75-year-old John Ethel Minnifield said her area is prone to flooding and with the construction of the new $14-million Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, her neighborhood will be under water more often.
“Everybody was praying and looking out their windows Saturday and Thursday,” said Minnifield. “I know I was and we still not out of the woods yet.”
Minnifield has lived in the Parkview area for 40 years and serves as the president of the West Parkview Homeowner’s Association. She said with Young’s Bayou sitting behind her neighborhood it’s always flooding, so she can’t understand the Monroe City School Board’s decision to place the new Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in the area.
“You going to go and build a huge school like that when you know what kind of impact a big structure like that has on an already developed area. You going to go ahead and put a school there it shows us you don’t care what happens to us over here,” said Minnifield.
She’s concerned the new school will impact the layout of the neighborhood and lead to more flooding.
Now, Minnifield and another concerned citizen have filed a lawsuit against the school board. Both residents are claiming their neighborhood was not consulted in the decision to build the school.
“They didn’t ask us nothing. When we learned about it, it was already rumored that they were going to build it across the street. We have just been uniformed about everything,” said Minnifield.
With the school sitting between Wossman High School and Minnie Ruffin Elementary she said it will also cause traffic issues and congestion. She said she has tried to talk to the board, but so far her voice isn’t being heard.
“I tried to talk to one of the school board members the other day and he said ‘that will probably never happen again,’ and I said what you are not understanding is there is global warming,” said Minnifield.
Read Monroe City School Board District 5 Representative Betty Ward-Cooper’s statement below:
The lawsuit filed this week is just another indication the citizens in this community will never accept being disrespected and thought so little of to the extent a school board never solicited their input for such an important decision as the building of a school for our children.
Also, we owe it to such an international leader and our dearly beloved leader as Reverend/Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to build a school fit for some one of his stature with all the care and thought it deserves when planning it.
Constituents of this community, voiced their concern about being left out of the process.
After viewing the minutes of the last few years, I found the MCSB Facilities committee has scarcely met on this issue of the new school: 2019 (no meetings); 2018 (once on March 22); 2017 (no meetings); 2016 (twice); 2015 (met once). No time during these years does it appear that community input was sought or included in the process.
The constituents expect the school board to be accountable and transparent.
The current board voted to move forward with this school, in spite of the fact, that all the questions about the flood and traffic congestion have not been answered or definitively addressed.
As you already know I voted against building at the new proposed site, sandwiched been Minnie Ruffin and Wossman High School. My position has not changed, and I stand with the community.
Again, the lawsuit is another indication that this is a big issue for the communities of the Monroe City School District. I children’s learning environment and future is at stake.