Board members tour Cloutierville before voting on its closure Thursday night

By Samantha Maiette

Cloutierville Elementary and Jr. High School’s future rests in the hands of the Natchitoches Parish School Board as it decides whether or not to close the school.

In a letter released to school employees, Superintendent Dale Skinner mentioned the board looked at other options such as a four-day week, moving other students to the school and laying off personnel (SEE LETTER PROVIDED BY A MEMBER OF THE GROUP ON MONDAY – BELOW).

Before making their decision, the school board made a trip to Cloutierville to explore school grounds and hear from concerned community members. The biggest issues were about bussing the children to Natchitoches and the impact on the community.

“I don’t think [the board] has everything figured out yet,” said District 11 Representative Emile Metoyer. “There’s [going to be] so much bussing going on that we’re not going to save money.”

Metoyer proceeded to explain how he drove from Natchitoches Central to the southern parish line, which is roughly 35 miles and is roughly a 40 minute commute. He calculated the time a child would spend on the bus, one way, to be around an hour and a half after a bus driver picks up and drops off those on the route.

“If we leave this [school] open, it will affect 6,000 students in the parish,” Skinner said. He later explained that the students will receive a “better education” if they have access to everything they need, especially when they get to the high school level.

The community members who showed up to the school Monday morning expressed their concerns with the board members who were present.

“It’s unreasonable to have a child on a bus for an hour to an hour and a half,” said Julie Delphin, a resident of Cane River. “With the geography [of the parish] it is not feasible. Natchitoches is not centrally located.”

Cloutierville teaches pre-K through 8th grade and is currently listed as a C ranked school. 235 students finished the school year and it’s celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

The board is expected to vote on the future of Cloutierville at their special meeting Thursday, June 14 at 5 pm.

6 thoughts on “Board members tour Cloutierville before voting on its closure Thursday night

  1. Some people seem to think small schools are wrong, and when it comes to the elementary grades, I think they might not be seeing the advantages of attending a smaller school. First, these children don’t need some of the programs like football, band, and similar programs. What they do need are small classrooms, caring teachers, the ability to get home in time to play in the afternoon. I simply do not understand the school board’s decisions over the years in laying out the lines for where young children will go to school. Please start thinking of these little ones, and leave community schools in place. Think of the future of the young ones.

  2. I see where there is mention of what to do with students on Airport Rd and students from Natchez, but what about the students in the actual Cloutierville area? What about the rural areas that don’t fit into those areas being discussed? These kids count too! MY KIDS COUNT!

  3. Bus commutes have been long enough already. If cloutierville doesn’t have everything it needs for a better education why not do what needs to be done to make it better. Cloutierville school is a part of everybody out that way !!

  4. The letter from Skinner to his staff appears to be in violation of the Hatch Act of 1939, as amended. What a threat!

    • Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch, from engaging in some forms of political activity.

      Maybe I am missing something but this does not seem to apply to our situation.

      It is obvious that their are budget concerns among additional concerns pertaining to the education of our children.

      It is important that we don’t lose sight on the main goal the quality of education and safety of our children. Our children are our future and deserve the best we can offer.

      Recently a bond was passed that will begin to help with the major concerns of the physical maintenance and upkeep of our schools but we still have the need for parental involvement and support. It’s the little things like acknowledging your child’s accomplishments daily, encouraging your child to respect their school property the list goes on.

      It is all of our responsibility to care for our children and our schools.

      We as a community need to work together to insure that our public school system produces model citizens with the ability to continue the traditions of our community and its workforce. The overall goal of any public school system is to educate our future workforce and provide productive citizens.

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