Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

School Board lawsuit challenges Governor

The Webster Parish School Board has agreed to join a lawsuit filed by a state teacher's association challenging Governor Bobby Jindal's controversial education package adopted during the 2012 Regular Legislative Session.

The item, presented by Superintendent Steve Dozier, passed 7 to 4.

The item passed with a substitute motion made by board member Jerry Lott to put a cap of $2,500 on contributions made by the parish to participate in the litigation.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers filed the litigation on June 7 in Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District Court asking to have Acts 1 and 2 of the 2012 legislative session set aside.

Claire Devereux, Webster Parish Federation of Teachers president, presented the board a resolution asking them for their support.

In reading the Louisiana Federation of Teachers' resolution Devereux said, "The issues raised in the lawsuit include unconstitutional diversion of funds to schools outside the public school system; unconstitutional diversion of the local portion of the per pupil amount and the Minimum Foundation Program formula; unconstitutional passage of the Act by the inclusion of more than one object in the original legislation; unconstitutional passage of the Minimum Foundation formula whic was the cause of insufficient votes in the House of Representatives."

Devereux continued that the issues raised demonstrate that ACT 2 of 2012, "poses a threat to the public education in Webster," therefore LTF needs the support of the WPSB.

According to Dozier, 25 parishes thus far have signed the resolution with an approximate 10 others ready to sign but waiting for their board meetings.

Also approved during the night's order of business were the personnel committee's recommendations for Cyndi Hair to be the principal for North Webster Junior High School and John Ware to be the head football coach/teacher for North Webster High School.

The board also moved forward recruiting to fill the position of principal at Harper Elementary in the wake of Hair's new position.

The approval to change the STEM program to a HONORS program brought discussion to the table.

Along with the name change, Elementary Supervisor Connie Busby proposed six other changes for the program.

Board member Ronnie Broughton discussed his concern about the removal of the behavior and attendance components from the contract.

"If we have an HONORS program are we not going to hold those HONORS students to a higher standard than the STEM program did and the same thing with attendance," Broughton said.

Busby spoke up and tried to clarify her intentions with the changes.

"I don't think that any of the current honors programs put kids out for any of those things," she said. "And it's not that we are not asking the teachers to hold those kids to a higher standard but we are asking them to follow the school procedures for kids that are attendance problems or discipline problems.

"The kids that tend to get into the honors program don't tend to be discipline problems and if they are, we just ask that they follow the PBIS and school discipline procedures with those kids," she continued.

"So the Webster Parish school system has no smart kids with bad attitudes?" Broughton said.

"No sir, I didn't say that," Busby said. "I was saying if we do have problems we would follow the school-wide procedures."

Board member Frankie Mitchell had issue with any changes being made without further discussion with the Curriculum Committee.

In efforts to get the information to parents who were expecting a letter by the first week of July a substitute motion was made.

The substitute motion was made to allow the Curriculum Committee to meet to get the information needed to make any curriculum decisions but in the meantime let the principals get the information out to the parents of children who made HONORS.

The substitute motion was accepted with Mitchell being the only board member opposed.

In other business:

Superintendent Dozier's report included information about Act I/II and the Court Order training that Jon Guice will present to board members; his plan to discuss transportation woes with the Transportation Committee in efforts to come up with a better plan and an update on the security camera system with Homeland Security.

The board approved to advertise for the executive secretary position in the wake of the retirement of Elizabeth Brewer after 46 years of employment.

The board did not approve the discontinued use of General Fund dollars to pay out of state travel and expenses for the 2012-2013 school year. (If the item had passed schools could still use school funds for student travel.)

Approved the changes for several policies in the Title I department, such as, the WP Parental Involvement in Education Policy, WP Homeless Policies and Procedures with District Dispute and Resolution Process Policy, the WP Grievance Policy for Public and Non Public Schools and WP Policy for Homeless Students.

Approved the request to grant permission to change all high school counselors from nine months to 10 months (testing data/student schedules/placement needed).

Approved new bid prices for milk products, bread and frozen dairy for the 2012-13 school year.

Approved the purchase of magnetic, dry erase boards for all classrooms at J.A. Phillips Middle School in the amount of $11,302 using Minden School Building Fund.






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