The St. Landry Parish School Board has raised concerns regarding the overcrowding situation at Opelousas Middle School. Board member Joyce Haynes highlighted the issue, emphasizing the need for immediate attention before the start of the next school year.
Upon visiting the school, it became apparent that the current facilities were unable to accommodate the growing number of students. Haynes explained that if there were to be pull-out sessions to provide additional academic support to the children, finding suitable spaces within the school would be a challenge. The lunchroom lines are consistently long, and there are even separate shifts to accommodate all the students. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some children going hungry.
The board is deeply concerned that the situation will only worsen. Currently, there are 600 students attending Opelousas Middle School, but with the upcoming transition of fourth graders to fifth graders, the number is expected to increase to 642. Given the existing overcrowding, the board recognizes the urgent need for change.
Superintendent of Schools, Patrick Jenkins, acknowledged the issue, assuring that the school system will address it appropriately. However, he pointed out that Opelousas middle school complies with Louisiana class size standards. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, the class average can be as high as 33 students per teacher. Nevertheless, Jenkins expressed the belief that a class average of 25 to 1 is more suitable for grades 5 through 6.
While the superintendent does not deny the overcrowding concern, he stated that a board meeting was not the appropriate platform to discuss it. To address the issue properly, a special meeting will be held on Monday, February 10th at 4 p.m. in Opelousas.
It is evident that the St. Landry Parish School Board is actively working to find a solution to the overcrowding problem at Opelousas Middle School. The matter is of great importance as it directly impacts the students’ ability to receive a quality education in a comfortable learning environment.
To further highlight the urgency in resolving this issue, the board members have emphasized the need for additional classrooms and facilities. Increased capacity would not only alleviate the overcrowding but also allow for the implementation of academic support programs, ensuring that all students have equal access to educational resources.
In conclusion, the St. Landry Parish School Board is keen on addressing the concerns surrounding the overcrowding issue at Opelousas Middle School. The board members recognize the need for immediate action to provide a suitable learning environment for the students. By holding a special meeting, they aim to discuss potential solutions and make necessary changes to alleviate the overcrowding and ensure a better education for all students.