Three schools to open soon

By Cyndi Sellers

Three Cameron Parish schools are set to start face-to-face classes this month, with all students able to return to virtual education this week, it was announced at the School Board meeting Oct. 14. Hurricane Delta delayed the expected start dates, but virtual classes for all students began on Monday, Oct. 19, and all Johnson Bayou students were able to return to school on Wednesday.

School Supt. Charley Lemons announced on campus dates for other school and grades: Hackberry Elementary grades K-5 and Grand Lake Elementary grades Pre-K – 6: Oct. 26; Grand Lake High school grades 7-12: Nov. 9. Hackberry High School’s remaining classes will be able to return to campus around the end of November or start of December. Lemons said the date would be firm by the November board meeting.

Transportation is being arranged, such as buses from Port Arthur and Hackberry to Johnson Bayou, and others as needed to get students to their schools.

No date has been set for South Cameron High School. The classrooms are in fine condition, Lemons said, but the front stairs and ramp are missing. The school will need state Fire Marshal approval for any temporary solution the architect can devise. “We are seeking the fastest, quickest, Fire Marshal passable solution,” he said.

The Board approved hiring architects for the permanent repair work on schools, the central office, and the Audrey bus maintenance facility. Vincent Shows was assigned to South Cameron and Grand Lake schools, and David Brossett will handle the rest, plus manage the overall repair process.

The Board agreed to the Cameron Parish Police Jury’s request to use the old South Cameron Elementary site for a retrieval and storage lot for a period of 18 months. The Jury may lay gravel on the site, which would be left or removed as the School Board’s prefers. The School Board will continue to maintain the parts of the site not being used by the parish.

The Board declined a request from four hunting lease holders to defer payment on their leases for this year due to inability to access their leases. Land Manager Tom Barrett said the value of leases was going down, with almost $400,000 less being received per year. He said the Board has received half of this year’s lease payments so far.

Randall Faulk said there is still a month until duck season, giving time to make other arrangements. The leases include a clause that says there is no guarantee of access. Joe Delcambre said it would not be good to reduce revenue when expenses are high. Lemons said there is a lot of uncertainty about the financial future next year and for several years to come.