Morehouse Parish School Board votes to close two schools, more than 50 layoff could come

MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Fed up parents and the community walked out of the Morehouse Parish School Board Monday night. It was just moments after the board voted to close two schools, which are the same schools members chose to keep open just a week ago.

"They don't care about the students. They don't care about the children. They care about their own egos and pockets," said one citizen.

Pine Grove students from K-6 will go to Delta Junior High. K-6 students at H.V. Adams will go to Morehouse Jr. High. This news doesn't sit well with some parents and board members like Rose Thompson who left the meeting.

"Where are you going to put all these kids? We have a lot of parents with a lot of elementary kids," said Rose Thompson, one of the school board members.

All this boils down to money. The school district is almost broke since they're expecting a $1.6 million dollar shortfall. Superintendent David Gray said he just learned the district owes charter schools more than $800,000 that would come from local funding.

"I don't know if it was missed. Quite honestly, I don't. Tonight, we showed the actual page from the MFP letter that is published by the state. It showed the funding that was suppose to flow through from local dollars, to charter kids, whether that's Beekman or virtual charter," Gray said.

Gray even says he doesn't know where the money went.

"I do not know why that number has changed that is information I hope to get next week at the State Department of Ed (Education)."

Gray says in addition to the consolidation, the district will have to lay off more than 50 employees before they come back from holiday break. He also says he knows this isn't what people want to hear.

"The best I can tell them is we have to be able to afford the education we're providing the kids. If we can't pay the bills, if we can't pay a teacher to teach, if we can't pay to keep the lights on, then we can't have an educational system," Gray said.

But, the community isn't taking this as the final answer.

Gray expects the consolidation to be done before students go back to school after the holidays. He also said they're working to keep students with the same teachers.