Would Rapides Parish reconsider open enrollment after LHSAA decision on select schools?

LHSAA voted to redefine what a select school is. In Rapides Parish, some schools are now asking the school board for change.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 9:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Last week, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association voted to redefine what a “select” school is.

Since then, the decision has become controversial, especially in Rapides Parish where some schools are asking the school board for the possibility of change.

Under the new decision from the LHSAA, lab schools, magnet schools, charter schools and parishes with open enrollment will move to the select side for athletics. This would include every public high school in Rapides Parish and would affect the matchups come playoff time in each sport.

Rapides Parish School Superintendent Jeff Powell said this decision has caused some schools to question if the parish should get rid of open enrollment entirely.

“When open enrollment was established in Rapides Parish, it had nothing to do with athletics, so I would hate to see us eliminate the option of open enrollment because of athletics,” said Powell.

Open enrollment has been in place in Rapides Parish for over 10 years with the goal of giving parents the option to send their kids to their school of choice. Powell added that while the LHSAA’s decision only affects athletics, the school board is facing a much bigger decision that would affect every student in the parish.

“There are over 1,400 students that are attending a school that they are not zoned for in Rapides Parish when you talk about 9th grade through 12th grade whether it be choice, hardship, magnet programs, open enrollment or the conservatory,” said Powell.

Powell told KALB that he has tried to reach out to the LHSAA for guidance on the decision, but has yet to hear back. The school board has until June 22 to have a plan on if they will get rid of open enrollment or not. Powell said it is not enough time to make a major decision.

“It’s unfortunate the way the LHSAA has rolled this out by giving everybody just two weeks to make this decision that makes a huge impact outside of athletics,” said Powell. “Typically we don’t take a single aspect of schooling like athletics and base an entire decision in the district around that.”

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