Chamber tours state-of-the-art Chalmette ElementarySep 21st, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: School News
Fifth grade students Jy’Jay Johnson, Kiara Pendleton, and Travis Umfrey working in one of Chalmette Elementary’s many computer labs.
District C councilman Richie Lewis and District D councilman Casey Hunnicutt see what it’s like to sit at the Chalmette Elementary news desk.
Superintendent of St. Bernard Public Schools Doris Voitier and Chalmette Elementary principal Elizabeth Winslow proudly showcased Chalmette Elementary School for a group of Chamber of Commerce members and guests.
To keep up with the parish’s population growth— there were over 900 Elementary students last year— the district added LaCoste Elementary to handle the boom in pre-K through 5th grade students.
“We’re bulging at the seams, especially at the pre-K through 5th grade level,” said Voitier.
Chalmette Elementary is a shining example of the district’s impressive post-Katrina rebuilding. Each classroom is equipped with a Promethean Board, an interactive white board that combines color, motion and interactive features with sound. The student-run morning show is broadcast daily on the classrooms’ boards, said Principal Winslow. Additionally, each classroom is equipped with 5 computers, a printer and a wireless network.
Voitier also discussed the new state legislation and how Acts 1 & 2 are going affect St. Bernard Parish schools.
“Traditional education is being painted with a broad brush [by state lawmakers],” explained Voitier.
The new legislation allows private and charter schools to be funded by the same Minimum Program Foundation formula, which in the past has solely been allocated for the state’s public schools. Since the MFP funding, comprised of local tax revenues and state tax revenues, will now include private and charter schools, there is significantly less funding for each school to go around. The St. Bernard Parish school district relies on 45 percent of its revenue from the MFP formula.
Voitier asserted that she believes local tax revenues should fund local schools. Additionally, she says the legislation moves control over from local school districts and parent to lawmakers in Baton Rouge.
“As long as we have local tax dollars, they should be going to local public schools,” said Voitier. “As a public school educator, I feel that if we don’t have strong, educated children in this community, then the community as a whole will suffer.”
Senator A.G. Crowe, who represents the St. Bernard school district and was in attendance for the Chamber Tour and Lunch, commented that some of the downsides of the education reform legislation, that he voted for, have “unintended consequences.” Crowe said he was drafting legislation to prohibit kindergarten students in A or B districts from being eligible for vouchers.