Parents concerned over potential NELA school district merger


MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (02/28/2020) — 11 out of 12 parishes in Northeast Louisiana are considered rural. Our partners at the News Star report The Louisiana Department of Education says six public school districts in the region are in financial distress, so they’re considering combining them.

“The concerns are the collaboration first off and the distance as well as the employment,” said Morehouse Parish Parent, Coleen Spencer.

The districts at the highest risk include: Catahoula, East Carroll, Madison, Tensas, Union, and Morehouse parishes. The report claims a decrease in enrollment, declining local economies and a reduction in tax collections are to blame. Parents think there has to be another way to address the issue.

“Unemployment rates are already not at their best so they need to think about that. As well as collaborating with the kids,” said Spencer.

Parents wonder if the school district merger could mean larger class sizes, a longer commute or even a loss of jobs. These questions have not yet been addressed.

“Overcrowding potential of the merger is going to affect learning ad quality of students getting a good education.”

Ronald Collins, Morehouse Parish Resident

However, some parents believe the merger could be a positive, “Depending on how the school board does it and what they’re allowed to do it could be a good thing. It could be closer for some parents,” said parent Codie Welty.

The report cites the districts would share resources because “Financial challenges threaten to decrease the quality of educational services.”

This merger, The Board of Education says, is a preventive action to maintain the quality of education for all students.

“They need to listen to the parents. If you listen to the parents, the parents will you know help guide them better, because they know what’s best for the kids.”

Morehouse Parish Parent, Coleen Spencer.

Morehouse Parish School Superintendent David Gray told the News Star, he’s happy to work with other school districts to achieve the best educational outcomes for students, but he too is concerned about the unknown elements this merger could bring.

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