School Board: Cloutierville back on the chopping block

School Board Jan 18_9801

The School board will have a tough decision to make at its board meeting Thursday night, June 7, at 5 pm. Cloutierville is back on the chopping block as a possible school closure as the district tries to balance the budget.

“Banding schools didn’t help as much as we thought it would,” said Superintendent Dale Skinner.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Horne said the banding of schools that was approved by the board this year wasn’t focused on financial savings, but had academics in mind.

“I’ve been lied to all this year then,” said Board member Emille Metoyer. “We were told the banding would save money, but we’ve kept adding positions. Every time you turn around we need more and more money.”

Closing Cloutierville will save the district $1.4 million annually. The current enrollment is 210 students and enrollment in the district as a whole has steadily decreased over the years (SEE GRAPH BELOW).

However, it was also stated that this is the 10th year in the last 11 years that the district hasn’t gotten extra money from the state.

The consensus among board members is that this will be a reoccurring issue. The worst part is that it was suggested that the board may have to look at closing other schools in the years to come if things don’t get better.

“I’m coming unglued about this,” said Board member Steven Harris.

 

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31 thoughts on “School Board: Cloutierville back on the chopping block

  1. First, let me say that it bothers me that people who comment are afraid or just won’t put their real name on their posts. There might be different reasons that real names are not used; not a registered voter, not a resident of Natchitoches Parish, haven’t thought about the facts, etc. I believe there are many problems with our school system and it starts with the school board and the behavior of children, which is a responsibility of their parents. There should be no personal agendas but rather an agenda that benefits ALL children. I believe our system needs a total overhaul. One responder noted that Sabine Parish has multiple schools, in fact they have seven (7) schools about ten (10) miles from one school to another. All those schools are K-12 except in the town of Many. I do not know their enrollment numbers nor their school scores. The result is that Sabine has neighborhood schools and we don’t. Everything in the towns and villages in Sabine Parish revolve around the schools. If you want to see for yourself just go over to one of those communities on a Tuesday or Friday night during basketball season. Those communities identify with their schools. The problem for Natchitoches Parish is that a judge made the decision for our school system. I read that enrollment is declining in our schools. It would be interesting to see how many parents are sending their kids to schools across parish lines. I will say this about principals and teachers, most are good but there are some that should be doing something else. Having said that, I will say that it is a most difficult job and without TOTAL support of both school board administration and PARENTS, a teacher cannot succeed with YOUR child. A teacher must be an instructor of education, babysitter, counselor, confidant and much more on peanut pay. These are the people that we entrust to train our children to succeed in a wild world. Schools should not be raising our children, it is our responsibility to provide a firm foundation at home. Enough said about that. Now for the fix. In my opinion, if you want to fix the problem start with the school board. No pay, no benefits, term limits. Next, when you have good principals and teachers, don’t promote them to the central office to raise their pay, keep them where our children need them; in the principals office and the classroom respectively. If this is implemented, you will find out who is REALLY concerned about your children. We need a level playing field for all. There is no reason that our children shouldn’t be afforded educational opportunities like Texas and Florida to name two. Maybe our legislators should be directing MORE of the education dollars to elementary and high schools and technical schools in this state. But be prepared, to provide a good education, you must pay for it.

  2. Natchez parents and kids were not aware of any thoughts of moving our kids. We are not in support of our kids moving to Clouterville. No disrespect to the teachers down there but they are working with what they were given.. and that’s not much.Our kids has been getting a good education at provencal..(even if they don’t want them out there or not). Who complained about OVERCROWDING? They just built a new jr high addition at the school. Y’all will not send our kids (Natchez) to another school without having benefits like the others.. and no they have nothing going on at Clouterville .. no electives….sports… nothing……..No sir…..Not our Babies!

  3. I have found in the past that often school boards will renew a superintendent’s contract at a higher annual income before the current contract is even coming to an end. Then they end up firing the superintendent before the renewed contract is up, and they have to buy out the contract of someone who never should have a contract renewed in the first place. Someone mentioned Mr Skinner’s contract renewal. Could someone tell me when his first contract period ended? When was the contract renewed? What was his original salary & benefit package? What was the package deal in the new contract? What is his education? What is his employment history. These are the things as a fairly new resident that I want to know before I vote in any other elections that might involve school taxes.

  4. Plus…..they have been cutting teacher positions all over the parish for at least 4 years now….

  5. Two other points I need to make. Cloutierville’s school score has gone up. It was a C last year. But they want to send these students in to D/F schools??? Also with the rural roads for busing, students are picked up at 6:00 AM to get to school on time now. So if they must go to Natchitoches, they will be picked up much earlier and get Home just before dark in the winter months ! Something to think about !?

  6. Some of you have wrong information. The board voted to remove the Town South and Fairgrounds Road students from Cloutierville. This reduced the number of students, but then they voted to send the Natchez area students to Cloutierville because of overcrowding at Provencal. Now they project a low enrollment at Cloutierville, not because of low student population, but because of board decisions. This would mean NO school from the city limits of Natchitoches to the Parish line . So why would any of these people support school taxes??? As far as busing, you are exchanging busing students from Natchez south (about 15 miles or less) to busing Cloutierville, Gorum, Chopin and Marco students 25-36 miles or more. Something is wrong with all this. Why should Cloutierville be sacrificed because of bad decisions by the school administration and board?? Right now Cloutierville has 235 projected enrollment. The board must first vote to change the student assignment to make it lower?? Again Why?? I plan to address the board with the answers to these questions on Thursday. I was prepared to do so last night, but it was tabled. I just hope that the entire board is again present this next Thursday! I believe all students in Natchitoches Parish have rights! I applaud Mrs Shoemaker’s comments made earlier on this page.

  7. Some have been trying to close Goldonna for years. They pulled the Clarence area kids and moved them to Fairview to cause overcrowding. Leaving the schools open at both ends of the parish would be a wise decision for the children. Are they trying to get all of the schools located in Natchitoches?? Everything seems to revolve around Natchitoches anyway. It’s a bad decision to close those schools. More expense added to enlarge existing schools.

  8. Goldonna students come from the north end of the parish, north of Black Lake Bridge (Readhimer and north to Bienville Parish and east to Winn Parish; Ashland and north to Bienville Parish and west to Red River Parish), plus all the kids between Goldonna and Hwy 1226 east of Clarence to Winn Parish, not to mention the kids from Fairview whose parents drive them in. A lot of people forget about the north end of the parish.

  9. Y’all are being too hard on Mr. Skinner. He’s doing the best he can. He is woefully unqualified to manage a multi-million dollar school system, but that’s what you get when you let politics get in the way of the best interests of the children. There were several better-qualified candidates when he was hired, but the Board gave you a basketball coach.

    • Surely he’s more than a basketball coach. Hasn’t he earned a degree in school administration? To be a coach, he had to have earned a teacher’s certificate, right? And he probably taught more than basketball, like history, math, or science, so he would have classroom experience (lesson planning, instruction, testing, making accommodations for children with special needs, grading, managing and filing paperwork, parent conferences). Right? I would think any school board would appoint someone with education and administrative degrees. Isn’t that what y’all did?

      • He meets the minimum criteria, but is that what you want for your school system? Minimally qualified?

        Who’s “y’all?”

  10. Read the Article End of Special Session.Its explains the situation on school closures,higher education,an Tops.The politicians get Fat an The children suffer from loss of education.The State of La.is broke folks due to fact monies is being spent in all the wrong places.That being said the Kids have to suffer from being shuffled around to schools to try to get the learning abilitys they need to survive in the of confusion.Some Lawmakers are Lefit the majority not those that are not could care less an go along with the system those are the ones where every concerned parent has the right to vote their asses out of office.The only problem is La.has always been a corrupt state when it comes to Money we all know money talks especially in Politics a true corrupt politician can sure talk the talk to get where he or she wants to be with no interest in nothing but pocketlining their interest is not what’s best for Education nor the kids for sure other wise to their battle would be to embetterment of Education Roads an the likes of our health system.

  11. Are they bringing them from another parish? It has only about a hundred families that live in Goldonna. Most of the students coming from Clarence are going to Fairview Alpha. Where are these students (Goldonna) coming from?

  12. If the School Board is paying $14,000 per student at Cloutierville then why don’t we just send them to St. Mary’s and pay their tuition and fees and still save about $7,000 dollars a pop? For 100 students that would save the system $700,000. Hell with the savings we could afford to provide each with a limousine for transport to and from school. Um, I wonder if anyone ever thought of that option? Never mind no one gives a damn about wasting tax money only keeping schools open no matter the cost. My bad.

  13. This superintendent Dale Skinner is just as crazy as the President. It’s time to get rid of this crazy ass man. Board members can’t you see he is old and making bad decisions? This system is changing the things over and over. The only way to see money and results is to get rid of some of these jobs at the school board office because they are over staffed n under work; where as the schools are under staffed and over worked.

    • Do your research. Look at the names of the Board members who voted to hire him and those who voted to renew his contract. Get rid of them first, then elect members who are willing to hire someone from outside the system.

  14. How about we address tax emotions for large corporations (Roy O Martin) that should be going to that school.

  15. How is it that Sabine parish can operate several high schools and grammar schools? In this parish all we ever hear are about budget cuts? Dale Skinner and board members…please explain.

    • Does Sabine Parish have more money coming in from property taxes? Does a portion of sales tax revenue go to their schools? Does the attraction of fishing, boating, and camping at Toledo Bend lure in more visitors (who spend their money on accommodations, food, gas, boat rentals, fishing gear, etc.) than our parish? People fish all year. Festivals are, at the most, a week long. Fishing, boating, and camping require the purchase of supplies, fuel, and gear. Making a one-day trip to a festival costs the price of admission, food, souvenirs, and, if needed, paid parking.

      • Correct and great answer. Sorry folks it all boils down to money. When was the last time the people of Cloutierville voted for a bond issue or taxes to specifically fund improvements at “their school”? No everyone wants someone else to pay for it. It doesn’t work that way no matter the personal attacks. Almost one and a half MILLION DOLLARS of tax money to educate what is going to be less than one hundred students??? Are you freaking kidding me? At least these kids will be educated at places where the locals decided to step up to the plate and pay. Yeah money is free and abundant.

  16. Goldonna Elementary has far less students than Cloutierville. Why don’t we close it. It seem as though we are keeping all of the original white schools open. That is my opinion!! Both school are at the edge of the parish.

    • Next years enrollment at Goldonna will be 200+ and Cloutierville will be at 96. How you can say that is beyond me.

      • When are south parish school parents going to take a stand against their kids being shuffled from school to school like vagrants and pawns of school board politics. School changes are difficult adjustments for them. No one seems to care. Leadership keeps looking at the low school stats but refuse to connect the dots The Natchez children were moved because Provencal comnunity must not have wanted them there. Tell me again about our living in an era of integration. We are not. Political strings are being pulled so segregation can continue off the books.

    • Goldonna is an amazing school why shut passing schools down when it’s clear they need to shut down schools that have been failing for years like LP Vaughn.

  17. So tell me why keep a school open for less than one hundred students at 1.4 MILLION Dollars per year when those needs can be served at other schools and that 1.4 Million can saved? By the way it’s not Dale that will be closing the school, it will be the Board that does it.

      • 200 at the close of the current year next year projected enrollment will be less than 100. Brought out at the meeting.

    • For the same reason that Golddonna has remained open with less students than that ( oh but I guess Golddonna is a 96% white school). The problem is not the number of students because most of these kids that live in South Natchitoches is going to schools in town but are zoned for Cloutierville. The next problem is NPS superintendent is an old white man set in his ways he’s not concerned for the best interest of all children only ( Magnet , NSU Lab n N C H S). The third problem is NPS have a lot of members who knows nothing about the school system and being fooled because they don’t know any better. This parish has changed the infrastructure of our school setting more than any other school in the state in the last twelve years. This is crazy.
      The only way to save money and see growth is to start getting rid of all those positions at the school board office and focus on keeping the teachers in the classroom.

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