- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The Terrebonne Parish school superintendent is forming an advisory committee to help evaluate the district’s aging facilities.

Superintendent Philip Martin told The Courier (https://bit.ly/1LtQHAH) several people have already committed to the task force and the focus is now on setting meeting dates.

The committee is the first step in a more than a three-month effort to evaluate facilities and create a master plan to guide the board’s construction spending.

Officials have long pointed to aging and overcrowded schools as one of their priorities to address.

The average age of public school buildings is more than 60 years and some, including Gibson Elementary, are more than a century old.

A 2013 schools task force listed facility upgrades as the second-most pressing issue facing the school board but recommended a study and master plan be completed before moving forward on any construction.

Martin said the committee will decide whether their meetings will be open to the public.

The committee will be similar to that 2013 task force that eventually recommended a half-cent sales tax proposal for teacher salaries. The primary difference is that Martin will moderate this committee instead of an independent consultant.

“I have to bring recommendations based upon my own analysis and the advice of the committee,” Martin said. “I’m looking for their opinions, suggestions and advice.”

The school board approved the study at its June 16 meeting. The measure, authored by board member L.P. Bordelon, would update a 2005 facility study and directs Martin to consult with “people that best know the physical facilities and curricular needs of the system.”

No outside consultants have been hired, Martin said, though he said that’s a possibility in the coming weeks.

Final results of the study will be discussed by the board’s Buildings, Food Service and Transportation Committee at its Sept. 21 meeting.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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