RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Coalition Against School Closures group asked the board to consider a resolution to reverse the board’s plan to move forward with its $65 million capital improvement plan that would expand two elementary schools.

The Coalition against school closure co-chair, Rev. Terence Flucas, said this would make a negative impact on the Black community.

“It’s going to affect children, their parents, and their whole community when you shut down two schools on one side of town and expand schools on another side of town.”

Liz White, co-chair of the Coalition Against School Closures said the school board should conduct a feasibility study before moving forward with the consolidation project.

“And until extensive research includes a cost analysis has been conducted to support all aspects of the proposed project.”

But regardless of the efforts to request the board to reconsider their vote, the board failed to pass this resolution on a 4-7 vote.

“The best thing moving forward right now for us is that we let the people of District 1 and Ruston School District all vote on it and have their voices all heard at the election on April 29th,” said Ricky Durrett Lincoln Parish School Board Superintendent.

But residents didn’t agree.

“You did not ask anyone in the Cypress Community how you felt about this. You did not,” said an educator, Fredrick Pinkney.

Residents said they are concerned that expanding the schools will interfere with the children’s safety and quality of education. But Durrett says if that won’t be the case. Instead, if the resolution passes there will be up-to-date classrooms and new safety regulations.

“We have to build storm shelters that are required to sustain winds up to 200 hundred miles per hour. With the events that have happened in the state and in Arkansas the last few weeks it’s important that we try to implement as many safety measures like that for our students and families.”

Election Day is April 29, 2023.