Predominantly Wealthy White Parents in America Seek to Breakaway
Rich white residents in an area of the majority-black town of Baton Rouge want to make their own city, have their own schools and be separated from the black parts of town.The area in question has a population of over 70 percent white and fewer than 15 percent black, while the town, East Baton Rouge Parish is approximately 46.5 percent black.
According to the report on The Atlantic, It all started as far back as in 2012, when wealthy white parents in the south-eastern corner of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, an area known as St. George, began to request for their own school district. These parents insist that the schools in East Baton Rouge havecontinuously fallen among the lowest performing in the state, and would probably remain so for a long time to come. The parents had written down just one request in their proposal to the state legislature: Create what would be called the Southeast Community School District.
The legislature had, however, not approved this request. The parents could not get the complete vote requirement that would mandate the legislature to create a new school district. They needed a two-thirds majority vote but got less than that. This did not discourage them. They tried again in the next year, 2013, and were shot down once again.
This is not the first of these types of requests in the neighbourhood. As far back as 2005, a nearby community, Central, failed to get thesupport it needed for a school district from the legislature, so it incorporated as a new city. That helped it gain legislative approval to create its own school district, Central Community Schools, which started operations in 2007.
The St. George supporters had adopted a similar strategy, launching a petition drive and registering a new website: StGeorgeLouisiana.com in 2013. They seem out to create their own city by all means possible.
Wealthy white communities trying to form cities of their own is a pattern that has lasted over twenty years. The Atlantic quotes a recent report from EdBuild, a non-profit focused on public-school funding, which says that over73 communities have split to form their own school districts since 2000, and the rate of places forming their own separate cities, have rapidly increased over the past two years.
It is said that the reason predominantly white communities often try to break away from a majority-minority school district, is to isolate their property-tax dollars in a new district. They contend that since most of these schools rely heavily on property taxeswhen separated, the parents can have a better say, on how their money is being spent. They argue that so far, their money is not being put to good use and they claim that the schools are in very poor conditions.
A group known as Better Together has, however, come up against the movement to create St.George. “We did a withdrawal campaign,”said M. E. Cormier, a spokeswoman for the Better Together campaign, quoted in The Atlantic. “We went door-to-door, told people about the detrimental effects of the creation of St. George, and we were able to get 1,000 people to withdraw their names from the petition.”