Some Morehouse Parish students head to a new school tomorrow

MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - The Morehouse Parish School District hosted an open house Wednesday so parents and students know what to expect as they walk through those doors.

Some students and parents locked their eyes on Morehouse Junior High. Some like Audrey Dunn and her nephews like what they see.

Dunn was one of many walking in with concerns.

Students who were attending H.V. Adams or Pine Grove Elementary in the fall now have to end the year at different schools. The school board closed those schools to avoid going broke by 2019.

So, parents like Dunn walked in with concerns.

"Their concerns have been going to a new school they aren't familiar with and I assure them they will be okay," Dunn said.

But she said this open house is answering a lot of her questions. Plus, it's showing principals are ready to get back to their number one goal, which they said is improving students' performance on the state assessment.

Superintendent David Gray told KNOE teachers had less than a month to get these classrooms ready.

"It wouldn't have happened without a lot of hard work by a lot of great people," Gray said.

Now the question becomes, was laying off those nearly 50 teachers and closing two schools going to fix the deficit.

"The goal for this year is not to lose the $1.6 million deficit we're talking about, going into the red. Believe it or not, our goal this year is to end the year with basically 0," Gray said.

Gray said with these changes, things are looking positive.

"Maintaining the cuts we've made this year we should start working towards a balance. It's going to be a marginal balance. Maybe $400,000. But, at least working towards a safety net," Gray said.

Perhaps this could ease all the uncertainty.

"We're just going to pray for unity. And, I know where there's unity there will be strength," Dunn said.

There have also been changes to bus transportation. For example, students who used to walk to school are now assigned a school bus. Also, Gray said there might be different drop off locations.

The Morehouse Parish School Board is working to keep the state from taking over after learning it also owes charter schools more than $800,000.

After the BESE Board heard about the cuts, the district was given time to fix things on their own.

The superintendent said the district would pay back the charter schools with local dollars.