BRAC: Survey shows potential St. George residents prefer better schools over a new city

Business Report

BRAC says the results of a survey it recently completed with 405 likely voters who live within the proposed boundaries of the city of St. George show that most residents don’t see incorporation of a new city as the only way to get the quality schools they’re after.

When asked if they think that creating a new city is the only route to “create education alternatives for public school students” in the area, 41% of respondents said they “strongly disagree” and another 17% said they “somewhat disagree.” Meanwhile 21% said they “strongly agree” and 15% said they “somewhat agree”; 5% said they don’t know.

“It is clear that the main concern of residents of the proposed new city of St. George is the quality of the existing public education system. The desire of these residents is to fix the existing system by allowing for local control, and not by creating a new city,” says BRAC President/CEO Adam Knapp in a prepared statement. “BRAC is working with elected officials and citizens to make the necessary changes to the EBRPSS to address these concerns while maintaining a unified school district.”

Baton Rouge Reps. Steve Carter, a Republican, and Dalton Honoré, a Democrat, are co-sponsoring a bill that is moving through the Legislature and would put into practice BRAC’s recently unveiled plan for restructuring the EBR school system. The legislation would keep the EBR school district intact as a single financial entity but transfer broad decision-making power and authority to individual school principals.

In the BRAC survey, which was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland on Jan. 27 and 28, respondents were asked which they believe is more important: taking control of the local public schools in your area, but not creating a new city; or creating the city of St. Geroge to create a new school system. Fifty-six percent said the former and 29% the latter.

Lionel Rainey III, spokesman for the Committee for the Incorporation of St. George, tells Daily Report that the survey results released this morning are a continuation of BRAC’s efforts to keep the public from voting on the new city of St. George.

“The powers that be are trying to do everything they possibly can to stop a vote on this,” he says. “This began as a fight for public education but has grown to represent much more than that. It’s grown to represent the peoples right to self-determination. Pass or fail, the residents of the southern unincorporated portion of East Baton Rouge Parish deserve the right to vote.”

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