UPDATE: NOLA Public School Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams has changed her decision to close and move the site of Homer A. Plessy Community School.
“I am a leader who must make tough decisions and this sitting was not one of them due to the compelling evidence to support the need to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our scholars. I am also a leader who must listen. After many conversations with leaders, parents and other community stakeholders, I have decided to reset on this decision and take additional time to receive community input, review more data and allow for deeper engagement,” said Dr. Williams.
The decision to move the school site from the McDonogh 15 building to the building that currently houses McDonogh 42 or the McKenna building was made a week prior, citing the poor condition of the building.
Dr. Williams says more meetings with parents of the students will be scheduled for the future both in person Monday (Mar.13) at 5 p.m. at the Homer A. Plessy Community School campus, 721 St. Philip St. and Tuesday (Mar. 14) at 5 p.m. via Zoom.
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Homer Plessy Community School could be moving at the end of this school year, but many parents don’t want to see that happen because of the school’s rich history in the French Quarter.
In the heart of the French Quarter sits Homer A. Plessy Community School which has become known as the “The Little Red Schoolhouse,” it is also the last school in the French Quarter.
“It would be shame to see a building like this end up as another place for condos, short-term rentals in the Quarter,” Chris Olsen said.
Chris Olsen lives and owns three businesses in the French Quarter, and his two kids both go to Plessy, because of its emphasis on the arts and its location. He has a 1st grader and 3rd grader at Homer Plessy.
“Having a school is really part of the community and something we want here long-term,” he said.
Last year, NOLA-Public Schools tried to move it citing repair concerns, but parents fought back. This move would take place at the end of this school year, and students would move to the McKenna Elementary School building in the 7th Ward, which is two miles from Plessy.
“Last year the school board pledged to keep the school here for 3.5 million dollars to fix the building currently they are going back on that agreement,” he said.
In a statement from NOLA-Public Schools, they say:
“The school is being moved to a higher quality campus. The new campus will afford scholars with a campus fully remediated of all lead and asbestos, fully equipped cooking kitchen, additional green space, and additional square footage for programming that we know will greatly benefit students now and into the future. Relocating school facilities is not at easy decision, but its a necessary process, and one that ensures students learn in a safe, healthy environment, where they have room to play, grow, and learn.”
Still parents like Olsen feel more investments must be made to keep Homer Plessy School here.
“Obviously the kids that go here would suffer tremendously, they love being called the quarter kids. We all chose to send our kids to a school in the quarter and we thought that was really important,” he said.
Parents set up a website to help keep Plessy in the French quarter.