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The Breakdown: Outside consultant recommends closing 7 Jefferson Parish Schools

This is in response to declining enrollment and a projection showing that the trend will continue in the district.

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — A third-party consultant has made some recommendations to reimagine Jefferson Parish Public Schools in a more efficient way.

This is in response to declining enrollment and a projection showing that the trend will continue in the district. 

Meyer Engineers, Ltd. looked at the conditions of the school buildings and how much of their capacity is currently being utilized based on enrollment. After a 2-month study, the firm recommends closing eight schools in JP and shuffling the students to other schools.

Schools recommended for closure are Grace King, Gretna Middle School, G.T. Woods Elementary, Helen Cox High School, Joshua Butler Elementary, Mildred Harris Elementary, and Washington Elementary. The Haynes school building will close and the program will move to the current Grace King building.

The firm suggests converting Janet from Pre-K through five to Pre-K through eight to use more of its capacity. It also suggests repurposing Gretna Middle School by re-assigning Thomas Jefferson students to GMS and adjusting boundaries among Livaudais, Marrero, and Gretna Middle.

The plan would also consolidate high schools on both banks. On the East Bank, the firm recommends moving Haynes Academy to the Grace King school building and closing Grace King, relocating those students and then adjusting the other boundaries at surrounding schools to maximize efficiency.

On the West Bank, it’s recommended to close Helen Cox and adjust the boundaries of surrounding schools.

There are two brand new schools on the menu. Bunche Elementary would be rebuilt on its current site into a pre-K through eighth-grade school. Then, students from Washington would attend Bunche.

St. Ville would also be rebuilt on its current site and then receive additional students from the closure at George Cox and a redistrict with Gretna Park.

The firm touched on the low utilization – just 17 percent – at the school in Grand Isle, but due to its very special circumstances, does not recommend a closure. The firm does recommend perhaps utilizing one teacher for several grades, or turning part of the school into a community center to use more of the space.

This plan is not final. The school board will discuss the plan at their April 5th meeting at 6 P.M.

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