A lack of unanimity may have doomed efforts by some parents to get the school board to reverse the conversion of Leesville Road Middle School to a year-round calendar.
As noted in today's article, school board members heard Monday both from Leesville parents who oppose conversion and those who are in support. Board members who supported conversion seized on that division.
"You hear two different things from two different groups," said board member Horace Tart.
Tart said he's heard from at least as many people who support converting the school as who are in opposition.
During the pubic comment section of the meeting, three Leesville parents urged the board to go ahead with the conversion. Two spoke against the calendar change.
Marguerite LeBlanc said she's "very happy" with converting the school. She argued that it makes sense to give calendar continuity to families because a majority of the middle school's students will come from year-round elementary schools.
Noting the people who've urged the board not to convert the school, LeBlanc said the decision needs to be made based on what benefits the students.
"This shouldn't be a popularity contest," LeBlanc said. "This shouldn't be about who yells the loudest and the longest."
Eric Blau, another Leesville parent, said the increased capacity from conversion would create stability for families by reducing the need for reassigning students out of the school.
"It's time to make the tough decision now so that kids don't get yanked around," Blau said.
In addition, he said there would be plenty of traditional-calendar options for families who don't want to stay at Leesville.
Lisa Boneham countered supporters by saying she represented more than 1,000 people, including staff and parents at Leesville Middle and families from the feeder schools, who oppose conversion.
Boneham argued that just because a majority of the feeder elementary schools are on a year-round calendar doesn't mean that parents support the conversion.
Boneham claimed that half of Leesville Middle's staff have indicated they'll leave if the school is converted to a year-round calendar.
Louise Lee stepped up next to say that the year-round calendar would harm the school district's academic efforts.
The final Leesville speaker, Tom Hurley, opened things up by praising the school board. He particularly singled out Patti Head for doing a "quality job."
Hurley, who has two kids at Leesville Elementary, said kids are saying they prefer the multiple breaks on the year-round calendar. He also said that the added capacity from the year-round calendar is needed considering the uncertainty of getting another bond issue passed.
Inserted extra paragraph to help provide more context to LeBlanc's quote. Corrected spelling on LeBlanc's last name.