BREAUX BRIDGE – For the second time in four years public schools in St. Martinville will see a change in their grade configuration.
The St. Martin School Board last week approved the reconfiguration of the city’s Early Learning Center, Primary and Junior High campuses effective with the start of the 2009-10 session.
Under the plan recommended by Supt. Richard Lavergne, ELC will add first grade classes to its current pre-kindergarten/kindergarten configuration. The first grade students will be transferred from St. Martinville Primary, which currently houses grades 1 through 4.
This means current kindergartners will simply remain on the ELC campus when they return to school in August rather than moving on to SMP.
The primary school will change from grades 1 to 4, to grades 2 through 5, absorbing the 5th grade level currently at the SMJH campus. This will leave SMJH as a grade 6 through 8 campus.
St. Martinville Sr. High (grades 9-12) will not be affected by the reconfiguration.
In a December memo to board members, Lavergne pointed out that the transfer of 5th and 6th graders to the SMJH campus three years ago created a lack of classroom space at the school, requiring the addition of three buildings to the campus.
“The transition was very difficult,” he said, “and, apparently, affected the student achievement level at SMJH. There is room at the Early Learning Center to accommodate the 1st grade, thus creating room at SMP to accept the 5th grade. The SPS scores of the ELC and SMP have been relative close for the past five years, thus academic achievement should continue to be similar.”
Cost of the reconfiguration has been estimated at just under $200,000, mostly for upgrades on the ELC campus which is now located in what was formally St. Martinville Elementary.
SME was eliminated as a school when the previous reconfiguration was approved for the 2006-07 session.
But board members once again postponed action on a reconfiguration plan for Cecilia area schools, agreeing to consider the plan at their March meeting.
Lavergne and his staff have recommended that Cecilia Primary change from pre-kindergarten through grade 3 to pre-K to grade 2; Teche Elementary change from grades 4-6 to grades 3-5; and Cecilia Jr. High add grade 6 to its current grades 7-8 makeup.
Board member Floyd Knott of District 9 has said that the overcrowding of the Cecilia Primary campus – which has a current enrollment of more than 900 students – is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
In other business during last week’s meeting, board members:
•Agreed to modify the system’s group health plan and limit coverage of gastric bypass procedures to $25,000.
Expenses related to a recent procedure on a covered employee had amounted to more than $500,000.
•Agreed to provide a school resource officer (SRO) at Breaux Bridge Jr. High School for the remainder of the current session.
A Sheriff’s Office representative said there were no trained SROs immediately available, but that a deputy would be assigned to the school.