Saturday, November 12, 2011

What the Bossier Parish School Board is facing

The Bossier Parish School Board is faced with a daunting task, namely looking at all of the facts and figures and deciding if they can accommodate the anticipated growth in the system on the current tax millage, or if they need to seek an increase.
The Board tasked the joint venture of SGB Architects & Yates Construction to assess and propose needed changes. A number of proposals were put forth, from building of new schools to extensive renovations and additions.
Among the possibilities are a new Airline High School and a new Benton High School.
The new Airline would carry a price tag of $53,000,000 plus an additional $10,000,000 for an athletic complex. The alternative for Airline would be an addition of 24 classrooms, a cafeteria expansion and other renovations for a total of just over $21,000,000.
A new Benton High School would cost just over $40,000,000 plus $10,000,000 for an athletic complex. Also being considered is building a new Benton Middle School at a cost of $20,000,000, moving Benton Elementary into the current Benton Middle School after adding a 12 classroom wing at a cost of $2,500,000. The alternative would be spending $16,000,000 for additions and renovations on all three Benton schools.
Other upgrades, additions and renovations that are on the table include:
  • Apollo Elementary $6,819,179
  • Bellaire Elementary $2,208,834
  • Bossier Elementary $4,746,233
  • Bossier High $8,601,330
  • Butler Educational Complex $1,701,378
  • Carrie Martin Elementary $3,324,053
  • Central Park $3,249,607
  • Greenacres Middle $9,216,840
  • Haughton Middle $5,802,217
  • Haughton High $16,377,093
  • Kerr Elementary $2,767,968
  • LA New Tech Plain Dealing $4,691,050
  • Legacy Elementary $374,400
  • Meadowview Elementary $3,467,454
  • Parkway High $5,430,000
  • Plantation Park $5,494,782
  • Platt Elementary $2,365,620
  • Princeton Elementary $4,115,652
  • Rodes Elementary $2,010,578
  • Rusheon Middle $4,168,727
  • Stockwell Place $2,462,555
  • Sun City Elementary $4,611,582
  • W.T. Lewis Elementary $2,625,000
  • Waller Elementary $3,290,139
The board is also looking at building a new technical school at a possible cost of $25,000,000, probably on the campus of Bossier High School.
Board member Jack Raley is pushing for the technical school, while Mike Mosura and Glen Bullard are very vocal in favor of a new Airline High School.
Board President Alison Brigham has the job of trying to keep everyone focused on the big picture.
That big picture, at this point, is that going with all necessary renovations and additions would cost just over $200,000,000, while the ‘full monty’ would be about $450,000,000.
The costs of two new high schools will force more talk of a consolidation of, at least, Airline and Benton High Schools.
The board will meet again next Thursday (November 17th) to begin to piece it together. Expect a bond issue next spring to finance whatever is decided.


  1. Growth is a good problem and the BPSB has a tough challenge ahead. They must find ways to keep up with the rapid growth Bossier Parish is blessed to be experiencing while keeping taxes at an acceptable level.

    The BPSB is also evaluating options to raise funds for teacher raises (2%, 5% or 10%) and an annual technology fund ($2M or $3M).

  2. I'm going to do a comparison at some point of teacher pay in Bossier Parish compared to regional and national averages. I just have to do some research. I have no doubt that our teachers deserve raises.

  3. Before teachers receive raises, the BPSB needs to weed out the bad ones. Otherwise you're paying all teachers based on tenure and the simple fact that they're teachers and not at all based on performance.

  4. I agree with you in principle, and believe that should be addressed. I don't believe that underpaying good teachers is part of the equation, however.

  5. Also, the area school district pay is greatly inflated, so to compare Bossier to other parish and say that Bossier is below average is not a good standard of measure. Red River Parish used natural gas revenues to increase teacher pay, and spends the most money per student in the state. Ironically, Red River is one of the worst performing school districts in the State.

  6. Your assumption is that good teachers are underpaid. Is that true? Did you know that in Bosser Parish the starting salary for a teacher with a 4 year degree and no experience is over $40k per year, plus benefits? Private school teachers in the area with far greater performance and experience make less than a public school teacher starting with no experience.

    Additionally, I don't know of many jobs in the private sector with pay that high with no experience and only a bachelor's degree.

  7. Jim, the national average for teacher pay is $47,100 (yearly) according to the bureau of labor statistics. Our teachers start out at $38,816 per year.

    Many of these schools need to be renovated. I know that Airline holds some of it's classes in Temporary Buildings which are impermanent structures. Many of these schools are old. Like 1950's old. These renovations are a long time coming.

  8. @ Anon 11:54

    Copy and paste that link into your URL bar. Teachers start at $38,816.

    What people don't realize is that if we increase teacher pay, it's going to attract a higher caliber teacher. You get what you pay for. Better candidates will come because of the money and automatically weed out the bad ones.

  9. The way to have better schools.
    1. Promote only the best to admin. positions. Not political promotions.
    2. Pay teachers a decent salary.
    3. Make it harder to become a teacher. If a person goes tocollege being a teacher is the easiest way to earn a degree.

  10. 11:12 I agree, Red River is an anomaly. They instituted the pay raises last year, it will be interesting to see how it affects their performance over the next couple of years.

  11. I doubt there will be anyone to hold the system accountable and see if there really is a need for millions in new spending.

    If they want new buildings, then they should be willing to take a 20% pay cut to help fund it. Just like any other business owner.

    What poor planning to end up in this mess. We are not growing that fast.

  12. 20% growth in the last 10 years is pretty substantial. Plus, depending on how you look at it, the parish has doubled in population since Airline was built, and grown by about 75% since Benton High was built. A lot of the schools are older, so I have no doubt some adjustments are needed.

  13. I agree Jim. Something has to be done to deal with the growth in the parish. I'm glad that I am not the one trying to find a solution. If everyone took a 20% pay cut as Anon 4:53 suggested, there would be no teachers because they will go to other parishes. Right now, if I were a young teacher, I would look at Desota. About a $10000 per year raise.

  14. Here is my suggestion. When you renovate these schools, why not demolish sections of the old schools and rebuild new, larger portions in there place. Eventually little by little you'll have a new a school. This will keep cost down because you won't have to purchase new land.

  15. There is a large amount of under utilized space in Bossier Parish Schools. Charlotte Mitchell and Butler both are way under the capacity that those schools can hold. Rusheon, due to poor administration, has the largest M2M transfers out of any school in the parish, thus causing over crowding at Greenacres and Cope. Why allow a building to be emptied by transfers rather than fixing the administrative mess that has been created at Rusheon? Also, Bossier High's enrollment of 650 is about half of what that school could hold. Before we pay to build more buildings, someone needs to take a serious look at redrawing district lines and using money to refurbish rather than spend fortunes to buy land and build new buildings.

  16. I think you all are missing the bigger picture, which is, exactly where this growth is coming from! Illegals...they are not paying into to tax system therefore the current tax base can not support the growth. If the growth represented people working that paid into the tax system, there would be no need to increase taxes on the poor working dogs paying already. Just look at the number of children born at LSU that are Hispanic.

  17. I didn't see any mention of tax increases.

  18. Lines were redrawn to cause overcrowding.

  19. My kids go to what I thought used to be a great Middle School on Airline Drive. However, there is some confusion. My child has come home for a couple of weeks now stating that the math teacher is at yet another "seminar". Come to find out all of the math teachers are out. Places like Dallas. No wonder the school has a grade of C. Who is going to account for these kids LEAP scores when the professional teachers are not even the ones teaching. Teaching is a job meant to be performed by a professional not a substitute....who is in charge???

  20. Green acres middle school is going downhill because our liberal mayor decided it would be a good idea to double the size of section 8 Riverwood apartments.

  21. Who allows the teachers to miss so much school? Is it just GMS? Does the superintendent know?

  22. My child attended Greenacres Middle School last year and we came close to pulling her out. She had 5 different schedule changes in the first 3 weeks of school. On top of that, they were on a 8 hour class schedule. As a former educator myself, I lost a lot of confidence in the administration over that. Everyone kept playing the blame game. It's certainly not Texas.

  23. The school board wants us to give them 450 MILLION Dollars in tax dollars. These are the same folks who got scammed by a couple of convicts in the air conditioning business. No thanks. I'll pass!

  24. They were billed for new air conditioners for gyms that didn't even have a gym. No one caught it. No one. Not a single board member or administrator questioned all the money being spent on maintenance. I agree. How are they going to deal with 450 million.

  25. And the current superintendant was the asst in charge of watching those things at the time. His punishment was being promoted. For that reason they don't deserve more money.

  26. They just hired a local tv anchor as a spokes person to sell us on this 450 million dollar deal.

  27. Why is there a New Orleans Saints symbol at the top of this blogsite? Will we be merging with
    Orleans Parish?


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