Reopening a volatile topic, a state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday night that would overhaul the East Baton Rouge Parish school system largely by giving principals sweeping new authority.
The measure passed the Senate Education Committee without objection after three hours of often passionate testimony.
State Sen. Bodi White, R-Central and sponsor of the bill, said fast action is needed to improve the district.
“I think we are going to have one chance to fix this,” White said of the district.
“A lot of principals have told me if they had more authority they could run a better ship,” White said later.
But a string of principals who work in the district, administrators and parents denounced the legislation.
Sherwood Middle School Principal Phyllis Crawford, an educator for half a century, said the bill would saddle school leaders with duties they do not want, would hinder efforts to improve student achievement and unfairly singles out just one school district.