Consultants recommend closing 8 Jefferson Parish schools as enrollment falls

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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HARVEY, La. (WVUE) - Consultants hired by Jefferson Parish Public Schools recommended the closure of eight “under-utilized” campuses at a meeting focused on the district’s declining enrollment Monday night (March 27).

The eight schools recommended for closure are:

  • Butler Elementary School and Mildred Harris Elementary School in Bridge City
  • George Cox Elementary School in Timberlane
  • Washington Elementary School and Granville T. Woods Elementary School in Kenner
  • Vernon C. Haynes Middle School in Metairie (students to be relocated to campus of Grace King High School)
  • Thomas Jefferson High School in Gretna (students to be moved to an adjusted Gretna Middle School campus)
  • Helen Cox High School in Harvey

Under the plan, a new PK-8 school would be constructed on the campus of Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School in Metairie, absorbing Washington Elementary students. A new K-8 school would be built at the site of BA St. Ville Elementary in Harvey, redistricting with Johnson Gretna Park Elementary and students being moved to either the new St. Ville school or Gretna Park.

Students from Helen Cox would be sent to either John Ehret High School, L.W. Higgins High School or West Jefferson High School.

The plan would adjust districts and calls for the relocation of students:

  • Sending Mildred Harris students to Gilbert or Cherbonnier
  • Converting C.T. Janet Elementary into a PK-8 school
  • Sending George Cox students to the new St. Ville school
  • Sending Butler students to Isaac Joseph, Truman and Collins
  • Sending Woods students to Bissonet

The proposed closures come as public schools across the country face declining enrollment, with districts in the New Orleans area planning how best to utilize their current facilities to educate fewer students.

“(At) first blush, I’m surprised by some of them,” school board member Derrick Shepherd said of the recommendations.

“I think there’s good and bad. I don’t know if the bad outweighs the good yet. I want to read and I want to study it for myself. I don’t want to make a decision right now.”

The board asked for a plan to be put together by MGT Consulting, in conjunction with Meyer Engineering, which created a facility plan for the district in 2017. JP Schools held a series of town halls earlier this month to gather community feedback.

“We need to run this system as efficient as we possibly can and that’s what we were elected to do,” said school board member Clay Moise. “We could service between 64,000 and 66,000 students today. We have 47,000.

“All change is difficult. But what we’re doing is transforming this district to a first-class educational model for the kids that will be building our future.”

The school board will vote on the recommendations at its next meeting, April 5 at 6 p.m.

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