Butler Elementary Principal Don Rushing and staff members started preparing students right after the board made a final decision.
"It's been a rumor for years because of the enrollments," Rushing
watched the student count shrink from 300 to 148, in part because of riverboat casino development in formerly residential neighborhoods. He
believes improved student achievement at both schools helped the School Board opt to merge rather than close both schools. Butler Elementary's
school performance score rose by 20.6 points in the first school accountability cycle between 1999 and 2001.Bossier Elementary's scores rose by 19.1 points in the same period.Butler gained another 8.5 points and Bossier Elementary another 8 points between 2001 and 2002.
Both were named Path to Excellence schools by the nonprofit Alliance for Education, an award that recognizes improved student performance.The state Department of Education
also rewarded both schools with cash for their academic growth.
Improved academics aside, Rushing
sees a more practical reason for the merger: close ties between the campuses.
(Elementary) is feeding brothers and sisters to this school," Rushing
said."We might as well have one big school, one big PTO, instead of dividing students among other schools."
"Back in 1969 and 1970, we didn't get a chance to say how we felt about our school," Rushing
said."One of my goals is to have a museum to house the history of schools during the old times."