Citizens seemed disappointed as they abruptly exited the Webster Parish School Board meeting Monday after a seven-to-five vote was taken to seek Unitary Status.
Members that were against the motion and wanted a delay in the Unitary System proceedings were Ouida Garner-District 5, Frankie Mitchell-District 9, Malachi Ridgel-District 2, Johnnye Kennon-District 10 and Linda Kinsey-District 7.
"I humbly request that no action to be taken on item #8 on the agenda," said Mitchell. "Why are we rushing? We have plenty of time to take care of this business."
Mitchell said she believed the board needed to have workshops, committees and planning in order to file the motion for the court order.
"I think this whole issue is about tenure. I noticed several papers are trying to equate tenure with the product that we have to go into position as being not qualified," said Mitchell.
Mitchell also suggested a committee be formed to study all of the Green Factors.
"When you look at the statistics today, the last two years I have been here we have hired as of today 33 percent African-American teachers and 67 percent Caucasian teachers," said SuperintendentSteve Dozier. "If we complete the hiring that we have in the next month or so, the numbers will be 34 percent African-American to 66 percent to Caucasian."
Dozier doesn't believe the point and tenure system works for the good of the children.
Ridgel wanted the board and people to work together, saying that progress had been made since having a new superintendent.
"It ought to be incumbent on every member of this board to rectify this wrong and be released from that court order so that we can run our own business, in a matter that best benefits children of Webster Parish," said Charles Strong-District 3.
Strong said his belief that Good Faith will stay with all members if the court approves the Unitary Status. However, Kennon believed that Good Faith should have been shown by voting not to move forward at the moment.
Jerry Lott said the main reason to go ahead with the Untitary Status was to get rid of the tenure and the point system.
"This point system is likely to hurt on future appointments (regarding personnel hiring)," said Dozier.
Robert Holloway-District 4 wanted the superintendent "unbounded" to make the decision on hiring personnel or personnel moving to a higher position, not just based on the point system.
Members of the community who spoke before the board said they wanted to delay action to move forward with Unitary Status.
In other business, employee of the month was presented to Fannie Jenkins by Rodney Taylor of Taylor & Sons.
Permission was granted to surplus 13 old school buses that are no longer usable.
The following expenditures were approved:
$5,804 for repair of a boiler at North Webster High School (installation of two automatic actuators on existing isolation valves), using Springhill Maintenance Fund.
$6,649 for repair of a bad motor on boiler number two at North Webster High School using Springhill Maintenance Fund.
$6,992 for chemical removal from Doyline High School Science lab using funds from Doyline Bond Fund.
$77,227 to purchase seven school buses from Ross Bus and Equipment Sales Inc. using funding from Ninety Six Sales Tax Reserve.
Approval was granted for field trips:
Bus use for 4-H activities this summer.
Webster Jr. High Science students to attend an overnight trip to Marine Research and Educational Center in Cocodrie, Louisiana on April 15-17 and April 17-19. Expenses to be paid by the parents of participating students
Brown Upper Elementary School to attend the Houston Space Center overnight Space Program Thursday, May 9 thru Saturday, May 11. Expenses for the trip will be paid for by Title 1 Funds.
Approval was granted to make the last day of school for students this school year to be May 21 and teacher workday May 22.
Approval was also granted for School year 2013-2014 calendar #1 to be adopted.
The following personnel changes and recommendations were approved:
Lisa Toland, Principal, Central Elementary, effective July 1.
Cynthia Cater, Teacher, Browning Elementary, effective May 22.
Louis F. Gomila, Teacher, North Webster High School, effective May 22.
Hershel Plants, Bus Driver, North Webster High School, effective May 21.
Jane Newsom, Speech Therapist, Browning Elementary, effective May 22.
September Denton, Teacher, North Webster Jr. High School, effective February 14.
Cheryl McClung, Teacher, Richardson Elementary (one semester only), replacing David Thompson who resigned, effective February 11.
Darrell C. Hughes, Teacher, Richardson Elementary (one semester only), replacing Mark Hull who resigned, effective February 19.
Food Service Manager Appointment:
Debbie McKnight, Food Service Manager, Doyline High School, replacing Vickie Hale who retired, effective February 11.
Next Board Meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 8.