the buses

School bus drivers were seen picking up their buses Friday morning in preparation for Wednesday's 2019-2020 school year opening. 

Schools in West Baton Rouge launch a new school year Wednesday, some in brand new buildings, all of them fully staffed and enrolling slightly more students

School Superintendent Wes Watts said Friday there have been construction delays on some of the new school buildings, but only one of three won’t be open for the first day of school.

Watts said personnel, though—teachers, support staff and administration--are certainly ready for the upcoming school year.

“We’re ready in terms of having everyone and everything we need and while we always have some last-minute things that we have to take care of, we’re definitely ready,” he said.

Watts seemed a little more concerned about buildings, but was confident two of the three new schools expected to be open for the first day of school would be—Port Allen Elementary and Lukeview Elementary—but Caneview K-8 won’t be ready to take students for several months.

“Caneview was supposed to be open now but that construction is a couple of months behind,” he said. “You’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll see in a couple of months. We’re hoping to be in it before the end of the calendar year.

“We’re about a month behind at Port Allen Elementary because of the river being so high, so we couldn’t do anything for a while,” he said.  

Watts said despite the delay, “before the school year starts, we should be in it.” He was more confident about Lukeville being open for the first day of the new year.

“Lukeville is going to be tight, but we’ll be in it before Wednesday,” Watts said.

The new Brusly High was not expected to be open for day one of the 2019-20 school year, but the superintendent said that project was on schedule and, “They (contractors) are rolling, they’re going pretty fast.”

Personnel is not a concern for Watts, explaining he has the 320 teachers he’ll need for the school year’s opening, and neither is attendance.

The year’s student count experienced a “slight uptick,” said the superintendent. “We’re on track to be up anywhere from 50 to 60 students,” with a total nearing 4,000.

“We’re starting to see enrollments go up,” especially at the new schools of Caneview K-8 and Port Allen Elementary, Watts said.

A final official attendance count won’t be reported to the state Department of Education until Aug. 15, he said, because of the variables.

“We don’t know who’ll show up that isn’t registered yet and how many of the ones who are registered will actually show up,” Watts said.

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