School board candidates talking big plans in Monroe, Ouachita Parish at forum

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - They talked concerns like school safety, zoning and teacher pay Tuesday night during a public forum at the Monroe Civic Center. It was hosted by the Monroe-West Monroe Chamber of Commerce and KEDM Public Radio.

Concerns like education equality across the district are what got Monroe parents attention.

"The learning styles and education he was getting at Carroll High School is different from what he is getting at Neville. It's different. Very different," Jacquline Jackson, a Monroe parent, said.

Some candidates said there is a disadvantage between south and north Monroe schools, while others disagree. Some candidates even wonder if the curriculum should be based on each school.

Meanwhile, parents said their kids experienced this first hand.

"He notices the differences. He said they didn't teach me well mama. I'm not prepared to be here mama," Jackson said.

Most of these candidates said the issue comes down to both districts needing more qualified teachers.

It's been reported before that this is a reoccurring issue across northeast Louisiana. In response, school officials said it's hard keeping teachers around because of either low pay or poor work environment.

Monroe City School candidates suggest motivating more men to stay in the classrooms.

"The way the kids see another male, and see what potentials they have and need to have to grow up and be a good male adult," Jackson said.

Parent involvement was also a hot topic. Candidates said they want to see more after-school programs.

The community said it's a simple fix.

"They should go to the school and visit and ask how my child is doing in school. And if they are having problems, they should stay after school and getting tutoring," Lena Allen, a concerned citizen, said.