Education leaders say St. Helena Schools need a whole new plan

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 5:05pm

State education leaders weigh in on the problems facing Saint Helena schools. They say, parish officials need to switch up their tactics if they ever want the situation to change.

Education leaders worry parish officials haven't tried hard enough to make the school system better.

"This has been happening for 25 years," says BESE Representative Chas Roemer. "This problem did not happen overnight. And so I question those people that have been in charge of this system. What have you been doing? How did you allow it to get to this point?"

Saint Helena school officials say the big problem is funding, but state education leaders we talked to believe there may be a bigger issue at hand.

"They have a community that I think has really just lost confidence in the school district, which makes it difficult to raise the taxes that they need," says Black Alliance of Educational Options President Kenneth Campbell.

They say community members won't get behind school leaders until they see a plan that works.

"They're not going to support the same old plan with the same old people with the same old lack of results," says Roemer.

He thinks the school system needs to start by addressing the problem and then offering a concrete solution. It's something that has yet to be done.

"You know what people support? Their kids. And they're going to do so when you can show that they're the number one priority."

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