Though a contingent of parents agree that rezoning schools from Youngsville to Broussard is imminent, the Lafayette Parish School Board voted to move the affected students sooner than they would like.

According to Superintendent Donald Aguillard, Ph.D, the issue of moving the students is an issue that needs to be addressed due to possibly overcrowding Youngsville Middle and Green T. Lindon Elementary. Students who had previously attended those facilities will be rezoned to Katherine Drexel Elementary.

"We've run out of capacity to add temporary buildings," Aguillard said about the facilities in Youngsville. "

Board Member Jeremy Hidalgo, who represents the district affected, was urging the board to stall the rezoning effort, admittedly, on behalf of his constituents.

School Board 1 KPEL Photo
Jeremy Hidalgo, and other board members, listen on as a Youngsville parent speaks out against implementing a rezoning proposal this August. (KPEL Photo)

"I realize rezoning is inevitable," Hidalgo said. "I think the implementation could have waited a year. I think there could have been some short term fixes."

To address concerns that the Broussard schools may one day reach capacity, Hidalgo told KPEL there are additions that will be made in the next couple of years to Katherine Drexel Elementary.

Hidalgo said he believes the next logical step should be implementing a tax initiative to pay for the facilities.

"That's the only way we are going to accommodate the growth and serve our needs," Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo, Tommy Angelle and Justin Centanni were the three board members who opposed the proposal in the 6-3 vote.

Dawn Morris, along with Tommy Angelle, Eric Knezek, Mary Morrisson, Themi Chaisson, Elroy Broussard and Britt Latiolais, voted to implement the action for the 2015-16, rather than wait for August 2016.

"Rezoning is something that is going to have to take place parish-wide," Morris said. This is just the first step in a process that is going to be very extensive."We cannot choose to delay this first step without then having to delay each subsequent step."

Aguillard said the school system's staff is working out the details to include a hardship recognition process that would allow some families to seek an appeal to the rezoning for extenuating circumstances.

One agenda item was introduced that advances the parish-wide rezoning efforts.  At its next regular meeting, the board will vote to consider retaining Mike Heffner, who works in geographic planning & demographic services, to provide zone modifications and rezoning plans for the board's consideration.

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