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Union Parish closes two schools

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - If your kids go to school in Union Parish, they'll soon be riding the school bus to Farmerville.

On Monday, the Union Parish School Board voted to close the last two outlining schools

And this change could affect everyone in the parish, including those who graduated years ago.

Farmerville Elementary is the last school to completely consolidate in Union Parish after the school board voted to close Bernice and Spearsville Elementary Schools at the end of the year.

Union Parish Superintendent George Cannon said the schools just aren't able to sustain themselves.

"You cannot maintain the facilities, the buildings and number of schools you have. As a result of the outlying schools you have and the populations being so low," Cannon said.

There's the issues of maintenance on aging buildings and aging busses. Cannon said the district has the oldest bus fleet in the state and by law will not be able to operate a third of them after 24 months.

He said if a new tax is passed this spring, the district will buy new buses, with some smaller ones just to cover outlying areas. He said right now the longest ride is an hour and half.  If the tax is passed he believes the longest ride will be an hour.

The tax is already on the May ballot. Cannon said if it fails they may have to consider centralizing bus stops throughout the parish.

Cannon said breaking the parish up into different taxing districts wouldn't stop the consolidation and the individual communities would not have the tax base to maintain the schools. Currently all school referendums are parish-wide

Cannon said the schools will operate up until the last day and then they will begin the dismantling process.


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