By Natalie Covher
Getting schools ready for the upcoming school year was the focus of the Natchitoches Parish School Board Meeting Thursday, July 14. Many of the schools are rushing to complete projects before the beginning of the year.
Natchitoches Central High School Principal Bill Gordy said that repairs to the flood damaged outbuildings are going well.
“The Ag building should be completed by the time we’re in school,” said Gordy. “The floors in the field house go in tomorrow and the Jumpstart Building is getting new sheetrock and floors. The outside gym is going to be a process. There is a five week wait for the floor and it looks like we will be holding P.E. outside for the first 4-5 weeks. The old bleachers of the inside gym have been ripped out and it looks like we will be sitting in new bleachers the first day of school.”
“Provencal is really coming along,” said School Board Member Russell Danzy. “Classrooms should be finished by Aug. 1 but the gym might not be available for use. We did get in the new junior high bathrooms in and had the others refurbished.”
“I went and looked at some classrooms at LP Vaughn and some of the carpet in those rooms was in very bad shape,” said Superintendent Dale Skinner. “It was so bad that the carpet is going to have to come out of 29 rooms. The carpet will be replaced with new tile. Parks will still move out on Monday so Magnet can move in. It should all be okay by the time school starts.”
The first three items to be voted on at the meeting pertained to millage rates. The board only met quorum requirements to vote on two. They adopted the adjusted millage rates and adopted authorized millages or taxes but will have to revisit the item to set forth the adjusted millage rates and roll forward to millage rate not exceeding the maximum authorized rates. The board needs to approve all of them to receive tax dollars from property taxes. This money will go towards maintenance and upkeep including a/c, heating, plumbing and small construction projects. While on his topic Gordy took the opportunity to discuss his hopes of an expansion.
“We have outgrown our building,” said Gordy. “I hope to see some of that money go towards an expansion for the ninth grade. About 8-16 classrooms. We hope to lower our dropout rate and increase our graduation rate. Our goal is a graduation rate of or above 90%. If that retention happens where are we going to put the extra 200 kids? That is why I hope some of the money can go toward an expansion.”
Members then voted to approve pest control and Liquefied gas services for the upcoming school year. They approved a benchmark assessment tool that mimics tests students will be taking. The previous program only covered two areas where as this program covers all four.
Linda Page was happy that even with the consolidation that they figured out a way to use all of the employees. “I know a few extra salaries won’t bother Mr. Solomon and a few extra are due to retire in October,” said Page.
Willie Calhoun, MSG, USAR, ret. did a presentation of proper recognition and observance of Veterans Day by area High Schools. He did not approve of the celebration occurring on two days sighting that it can be confusing, hard to get off work and may cause low attendance.