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Wary Jefferson parish parents, shaken into action by disclosures of the shortcomings of the Jefferson parish school system, has organized to watch the brick-by-brick erection of a school in their subdivision. They are the people who live !n Bissonet Plaza, Country Club Homes and Green Acres, No. 3 and 4, a neatly laid-out section of upper middle class brick homes adjacent to the Veterans hwy. Their motto is."It won't happen here." Their set is the two-story Bissonet Plaza Elementary school now under construction. Their efforts, now being conducted under the official name of the Bissonet School Boosters' Club, go back to about four years ago when the subdivisions were first being populated. Gained Strength But the movement gained its real strength about a year ago when newspapers headlined irregularities in school construction involving architects, closed contracts and a purchase of a swamp tract for $200,000 for a proposed school. "Our people knew we were going to get a new school and they began pestering and petitioning and attending school board meetings to watch over their conduct," said the president of the new group, Dr., Jack Strong. "It's funny how parents can watch malfeasance in office, like a sheriff being corrupted by gamblers and do nothing about it, but when their children are involved they jump into the fight," he added. When their school came up for bids, about 40 mothers and 10 fathers showed up at the school board meeting and an offer higher than the budgeted figure was accepted. Close Tab Kept Since that day when the contract was awarded, club members have kept a close tab on all phases of their school. They have presented a petition signed by 600 persons calling for the appointment of a teacher they believed is highly qualified for the principalship of the school, Mrs. Florence Juge. They have asked for and gotten, an inch-by-inch lour of the building, conducted by architect Benedict CiminL The head of one committee is in weekly contact with the contractor. They are preparing a list of supplies and teaching aids they will insist be in the school before it opens. One mother goes out of her way to check the school at least three times a week. Political Bosses Dr. Strong, whose name fits his deameanor, is outspoken in pointing out the reasons for his "insurance" organization. • "It is a well known fact that many school appointments are made on a political basis," he said. "In the past certain school board members have had large i numbers of their family on the 'payroll from principal to janitor. "We are not willing for the education and the future of our children to be decided on the whims of the political bosses. "We will do all ihat is necessary to insure that our youngsters get a first class edu- j cation." He also pointed but that at a recent school board meeting, it was revealed that only $18,165. jof a budgeted $30,000 was spent jfor schesl supplies. And when the point was discussed, Supt. Lemuel Hig^ins said all requests of principals for supplies were honored. Believes Group Effective "We know many schools are not adequately supplied," Dr. Strong said. "We know many new schools have been opened without the necessary supplies, just desks and blackboards. We want to make sure we have them. . "We don't want to be bogged down giving cake sales and revues to raise money to buy items that are supposed to be supplied out of our own tax money." Dr. Strong, associate professor of pathology at the Louisiana State university medical school, believes the group has been effective so far. He noted that it has a working relationship with Higgins, who suggested formation of a boosters' club to work with him. "We are satisfied that the school is 'clean,' " Strong said. "There are no deals on the windows, there are no closed contracts. The school is being built to maximum standards, not minimum, in the size of classrooms and other facilities. It's the result of a combination of a good architect, public pressure and luck." He praised the work of the contractor at the school, too. Getting people interested in , the club has been easy, said the president. Easiest Job , ~ "This is the easiest job I've ever had. Practically no one has turned down a committee appointment or a job." The club now has 280 members and it's not a month old yet. If the enthusiasm lasts, and it shows no signs of wavering, there will be maps, teaching aids, reference books and pencil sharpeners when the gleaming, $721,000 school opens next September. And there will be a ready-made parents' organization to make sure the school is one of the best in the parish.
|Title||Bissonet Plaza group on alert; Jefferson parish parents organize close watch in school construction|
|Contact Information||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans - 433 Bolivar St. New Orleans, LA 70112 ~ Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org|
Strong, Jack P., Dr.
|Call Number||1960 p164-166|
New Orleans States-Item
|Identifier||See 'reference url' on the navigational bars.|
|Source||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans ~ www.lsuhsc.edu/no/library|
New Orleans (La.)
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