A proposal to break away a portion of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System continued its push forward Wednesday, passing the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee. The legislation now heads to its final step in the state legislature, the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives, where it failed last year.
Senate Bill 199 passed the committee by a vote of 14 to 7. It is one of two bills being debated that would form the breakaway district, but S.B. 199 was the only one discussed in the committee Wednesday. The other, Senate Bill 73, still has to pass through a Civil Law and Procedure committee before reaching the House floor.
The overall proposal would allow an area in Southeast Baton Rouge, between Interstates 10 and 12, to form its own school district with about 7,100 students and 10 schools.
Supporters of the proposal, sponsored by Sen. Mack “Bodi” White, R-Central, say their community wants an opportunity to run their own school district away from the struggles of the Baton Rouge school system. They're modeling the proposal on the efforts of Baker, Central and Zachary, which have also formed breakaway districts. The Baton Rouge district fiercely opposes the proposal, saying it would take away some of their best schools and leave a poorer district behind.