METAIRIE, La. -- More Jefferson Parish schools are on the chopping block as school officials struggle to balance next year’s shrinking budget.
School officials now say they’re facing a $25 million budget shortfall, and that closing schools will help solve that problem.
Clancy Elementary School for the Arts was one of three new schools announced at a meeting Tuesday night that could be consolidated or closed next year in Jefferson Parish. A total of eight schools are now facing uncertain futures.
Outside Clancy Elementary, students, buses, and parents waited patiently for the commute home. That’s where we found Phil Collins picking up his 7-year-old grandson.
“The teachers really care about the students because he needs a little special care, and they caught onto it really quick,” Collins said. “That was really touching because other schools that he went to, they kind of pushed him to the side.”
Collins said three generations of his family have attended the school. The concerned grandfather doesn’t want to see his grandson move again.
“To hear it might be closing, that doesn’t sit well with me,” Collins said.
Tuesday night the Jefferson Parish Public School System announced more proposed school closures and consolidations. Three new schools have been added to the list:
- Homedale Elementary in Harvey could close, and students would move to McDonogh 26 Elementary School in Gretna.
- Joseph S. Maggiore, Sr. Elementary in Metaire would close and students would move to Clancy Elementary School for the Arts.
- And in turn, Clancy Elementary students would be moved to Audubon, Woods, Hazel Park or Washington schools.
“There are some major changes going on, and right now, unfortunately, local school districts including Jefferson Parish don’t know what the impact of that is going to be,” said Meladie Munch, president of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers.
Munch said major proposed cuts in the state legislature are being felt here at home. Munch hopes the Jefferson Parish School Board will give everyone enough time to plan ahead.
“I hope some decisions can be made in the near future so people know if they need to find employment outside the Jefferson Parish School System,” Munch said.
The possibility of Clancy Elementary closing is a concern to Kristin Mathern, who attended Tuesday night’s meeting. She’s a teacher at the elementary school who is now facing an uncertain future.
“I was wondering what happens to us, who put in the day to day work, the struggles, the successes all of that?” Mathern said. “That hasn’t been addressed.”
Two public hearings on these new, proposed school closures are scheduled for April 30 and May 1.
The school board will likely make a final decision on the full list of closures on May 9.