The Morehouse Parish School Board capital improvement bond was not passed by voters this Saturday, Dec. 8 with 71.49 percent of the voting population opting against the bond.
Morehouse Parish School Board superintendent Dr. George Noflin said it is a tragedy the bond did not pass, on account of the the great need for improvements and repairs at the local schools.
“The tragic thing about this is that there would have been no tax increase for tax payers if this bond would have been passed,” Noflin said. “Now our children have to continue to deal with things like leaking roofs, and other things needing repair.”
According to Noflin, the Morehouse Parish School systems may not have the technical abilities available to pass future evaluations from the state department, such as the computers necessary for state tests.
Kathy Yeldell, MPSB testing coordinator, said it is the junior high schools that are in need of new computer labs in order to be able to meet the new Common Core Standards.
“By the spring of 2015, the sixth, seventh and eighth graders will be required to take their state tests online,” Yeldell said. “The high school is already required to take state tests online and has been for years. We are waiting on the state to let us know what the testing window will be so we can know how long we will have to test about 500 junior high students.”
Yeldell said Morehouse High School tests about 800 students in a matter of three weeks, rotating the students on the available computers.
“It is hectic, but we manage,” she said.
Yeldell said computer labs are needed the most at the following schools: Beekman Jr. High, Delta Junior High, Morehouse Junior High and Morehouse Magnet.
“They all have sixth graders there, that is why they are needed at those places,” she said.
Noflin said he will not give up on passing the bond and in the meantime will be working on forming a new strategy.
“Although this is my first bond, I realize the role of the superintendent is to notify the public on all the ends and outs, and I should have made the voters more aware,” he said. “I am a former football coach who does not like to lose. We will come back with a strategy and be more prepared next time, as to when that will be, I'm not sure.”
Noflin said the schools are in need of not only computer labs but school buses, new heating and cooling systems, roofs and other renovations.