The Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS) has found itself at the center of community concerns and rumors regarding the potential closure of Paul Breaux Middle School. LPSS issued a statement on Thursday (Mar. 7) that, while not addressing the rumors directly, provided clarity on several points of contention, including the school district's financial challenges and proposed changes to its academic programming.

The potential closure of Paul Breaux Middle School has sparked a significant reaction from the community, including parents of current and former students, who have rallied to oppose the rumored plans. A petition advocating for the school's continuation has rapidly gained nearly 3,000 signatures. The petition emphasizes the importance of Paul Breaux Middle School to the community, highlighting its role in providing education to hundreds of students and urging the Lafayette Parish School Board to find alternative solutions for its needs.

In response to the growing concerns, the LPSS press release announced an upcoming board meeting scheduled for March 13, 2024, where a range of topics will be discussed. Among these topics is a $4.1 million philanthropic donation aimed at implementing the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) Program at two elementary schools within the district, indicating a focus on enhancing educational quality and outcomes.

The press release also detailed the financial pressures facing the district, including a projected budget shortfall and the impact of state-mandated funding diversions to charter schools. Since 2015, the district has seen a 224% increase in funding diverted to charter schools, significantly affecting its budget.

Furthermore, the meeting agenda reveals proposals for significant changes to academic programming. Notably, Edgar Martin Middle School is proposed to become the parish-wide site for the full-time gifted and enrichment programs for middle school students, while Woodvale Elementary School may serve as the location for similar programs for elementary students. The reorganization aims to centralize and efficiently manage these programs, potentially increasing student participation.

Additionally, Scott Middle School is slated to become the parish-wide site for middle school French and Spanish Immersion Magnet Academies. This decision reflects a broader strategy to streamline and enhance the efficiency of academic offerings within the district.

While the press release did not directly address the future of Paul Breaux Middle School, it shed light on the broader context of academic and financial planning within the Lafayette Parish School System. The board meeting on March 13 promises to provide further details and clarity, as the district seeks to navigate its challenges while maintaining its commitment to quality education for all students. Public participation in the meeting is encouraged, as LPSS remains open to community input as it makes critical decisions affecting its schools and students.

Read the entire LPSS press release here.

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