Big changes planned for Port Arthur elementary schools

The Port Arthur Independent School District is planning to make some big changes in the district to better educate students, just in time for the new school year.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie said he believes the new plan will strengthen the schools and its students, but some parents, like Latisha Montgomery, are not on board with the new plan.

"That's not fair to us parents or our kids," Montgomery said. "That is not right first of all we have a school right here on our street why do our kids have to go out if their district to another school?"

While parents like Erika Banks think separating older students from the younger ones allows for better education opportunities.

"I do think it causes a problem sometimes with younger ones being with older kids," Banks said. "I think it will be good thing."

According to Dr. Porterie, the younger students at Booker T. would focus on reading comprehension while the older kids at DeQueen will concentrate more on specific testing subjects. Dr. Porterie said he thinks all parents will be on board once they see their child's progress.

"We're going to work with our parents, we know they have concerns we want them to understand how we're looking at the end product," he said.

DeQueen's principal, Jerry Golston said she thinks parents will also be excited about the opportunities the changes will allow, such as adding fine arts programs.

"Once they see the concept and what we're trying to do for our children they will be excited as well," Golston said.

Teachers are preparing for the change this summer by moving supplies to accommodate each school's new students, but for some parents, like those who rely on walking their kids to school due to lack of transportation, it will take a bit more planning.

"There's no way I'll be able to catch a ride or city bus to get to DeQueen," Montgomery said. "Why is this happening? I want answers."

Parents can find those answers at one of two district meetings set for Wednesday July 23 being held at Booker T. Washington Elementary at 3:30 p.m. and DeQueen Elementary at 5 p.m.


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