Rapides Parish School Board Overturns Decision to Pass the Better Facilities Strategic Plan

The Rapides Parish School Board held a meeting to vote on the Better Facilities Strategic Plan, which would close four schools in the district.

ABC 31 News Reporter Keisha Swafford has the story on how the community rallied together to fight for their schools.


Local leaders challenged the school board to see how closing schools would impact the children.

Pastor Tennie says, “If it’s all about the kids, then we need to listen to the kids.”


Rapides Academy students pleaded with the school board to reconsider the Better Facilities Strategic Plan.

Rapides Academy Student Body President Hugh Newcomer says, “These last few days at school have been very tough. We are worried, distracted, and stressed about what will happen to our school and frankly we haven’t been able to think about anything else.”


Alma Redwine students and teachers protested against closing down their school.

Stephanie Ford says, “You say this plan is for the betterment of the students so how is busing students and increasing classroom size better? No one wants to make this a racial issue but when lower income schools in minority communities are always focused on for foreclosures, it’s hard not to.”


Sandra Franklin and Willard McCall made a substitute motion to delay the plan.

Newcomer says, “We realize that Rapides Academy and Phoenix, what makes them great is not the building. It’s the people inside of them and what happens inside.”


The school board reconsidered turning Bolton High School into a K-12 performing arts magnet academy.

Bolton High Student Koron Bordley says, “They didn’t care about the reason until, it was infuriating. How can I explain it? They didn’t care about our future until we made them care in a way.”


The school board voted to overturn the Better Facilities Strategic Plan and build an advisory board of parents and faculty.

Horseshoe Drive Elementary and Phoenix Elementary are also safe from school closures.