Big changes might be on the way for Morehouse Parish Schools

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MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - The school district is still faced with challenges, but they're making strides and addressing some issues.

And, money is at the center of it all.

A lack of funding inspired a huge donation from the Morehouse Community Medical Centers during a school board meeting Tuesday night.

"I will never be able to completely express my gratitude in a proper way for it. It's just awesome," Superintendent David Gray said.

It didn't take long for the board to start talking about spending other money. Transportation leaders requested to lease three buses for more than $14,000 because they don't have any back-up buses.

"You never know when buses are going to break and when they are going to go out of service. I think we can get by with leasing up to three. It's something that I'm going to work closely with my CFO on and make absolutely sure maybe make cuts in some other areas," Gray said.

The district budget is still a concern after announcing a projected $1.5 million deficit last year, which forced school closures. However, things are looking up.

"I'm happy to report that it is in line with the numbers that we reported over the last two or three years. In anticipation of this we had actually internally budgeted a larger loss of kids due to the fact that we had to go through rift," Gray said.

And, now the district is seeing some benefits.

"The payroll immediacy reduced to $130,000. That's what's going to build through the course of the year, so that deficit we were starting to attract goes away," Gray said.

Meanwhile, the board wants to change the names of Bastrop High School and the junior high. School Board President Louis Melton said students at the high school do not have proper jerseys, or uniforms, to wear for upcoming games. Others also noted the schools should have a unified name following the consolidation.

The Bastrop High School principal, Chris Broussard, stood up and said if the name changes he wants to use athlete's current jerseys since they're new. He also said the name change could be good.

"There's a separation of activities between junior high and high school. And it seems that the high schools needs may be over weighed by those junior high students," Broussard said. "We want to make a sincere effort to make sure those junior high school students know they matter."

The board will ask for input from staff and students.

A decision to the bus issue will be taken up at a later time.

The board also talked about the possibly of adding a new policy after a student brought a gun to Morehouse Magnet.

Parents were furious they weren't notified.

So in response, the policy would require parents be notified after the incident handled and the students are safe. It would also let other staff members notify parents if other leaders aren't available.

The change will be discussed at the next board meeting.