L.J. Alleman Middle School in Lafayette was one of seven statewide to be named a Blue Ribbon School for 2009. The BRS program honors public and private schools nationwide that are academically superior or that have made substantial gains in student achievement and closed the achievement gap. Nationwide, 314 schools were honored. Alleman, or “L-J” as it’s widely called, is one of the Lafayette Parish School System’s academy schools; its focus is the arts, and it’s not only nurturing and cultivating the talents of some of our most gifted kids, it’s also helping lay the foundation for Lafayette becoming a magnet for the creative class. Congrats, L-J and LPSS on a job well done.
The Lafayette Parish School Board got a hard reality check last week. CSRS Inc. and Architects Southwest, which the school board hired to complete a master plan for its facilities, presented an initial report on their ongoing assessment of the condition of parish school buildings. The report grouped 14 schools in the “high index,” meaning that the cost of their needed repairs is at least 65 percent of the cost of building a new school to replace them. The grim news comes as the school board continues to grapple with a recession-induced decline in sales tax revenue.
The move by Gannett to consolidate its copy desk in Monroe for its five Louisiana newspapers isn’t exactly paying off. Last Wednesday, The Daily World in Opelousas ran a story about the death of Penny Allegood Smith, whose family founded the popular KSLO radio station, of which she was president. Smith was a prominent figure in the city. The city’s daily newspaper ran the wrong photo with the story. To make amends, The Daily World ran a front-page correction with a second story on Smith using the correct photo the next day. Company insiders say they’re not surprised by the flub: A copy editor in north Louisiana doesn’t know jack about Opelousas, and the pressure to lay out five newspapers is affecting quality. A Daily World employee would have caught the snafu in a snap; unfortunately, there are so few of them left.