School Board discusses four-day school week, re-opening Cloutierville, teacher retention

School Board members discussed a request from Board member Emile Metoyer to conduct a study to obtain a quote on the cost to remodel Cloutierville school. Metoyer said there is money in the BRE account. Metoyer held a community meeting and told board members that parents are interested in the school reopening. He is working to gather information on how many would be willing to send their kids down there. Board members Billy Benefield and Beverly Broadway added an item to the agenda to discuss 2019 retention strategies for NPSB employees. Benefield said that after talking to Skinner about it in December, nothing was scheduled.

“If you don’t ask your people what’s going on, you’re never going to find out,” he said. “We know what that word assume means when you break it down. If you can’t do this and keep our people it’s going to be a tough deal for me.”

The number of long term subs is increasing yearly, and Benefield said the district still isn’t doing anything about retention.

“We have to turn this parish around,” said Benefield. “We [the board members] have to drive positive change.” Several board members agreed with this sentiment.

On this note, the board moved to an agenda item to consider conducting a study of a Four Day School Week for the 2019-2020 school year. It would be a Tuesday-Friday schedule with 40-50 min added to the school day. School is already out 13 (holidays and breaks) out of 36 Mondays during the school year.

Benefield said this would attract teachers, increase teacher retention and professional development while decreasing instructional time. Restructure certain things like tutoring on Mondays for kids who need credit recovery, maybe run the bus 8-11 am. Decrease absences by scheduling all medical and performance visits on Mondays. Less substitute pay because all business can be scheduled on Monday, so the district can save money.

Benefield called all this “pie in the sky” thinking, but said there’s a need for some positive change in the school district.

Tax Commission Report: From January to January sales tax collections were up 3.16%, but it’s relatively flat for the year because it was down in December.

Budget Update: Year-to-date the revenues in the General Fund are exceeding expenses, as well as Child Nutrition. Salaries and employees tend to be a bit high, but that’s fairly common for them to be a few points higher than expected. Title I is on track.

Personnel Report: There are 389 teachers in the Natchitoches Parish School District. Of those, 374 certified teachers in classrooms with 79 long term subs. There are 10 contracted certified teachers, 3 working on TAT (temporary authority to teach) and 12 in the practitioners program. Most long term subs (50 of the 79) are working to become certified.

Agenda items for Thursday’s Board Meeting:

Take appropriate action on bids for asbestos abatement and demolition of old Magnet School

Adopt authorized millage rates and taxes for 2019

Receive school based health center update from Carol Walters (Thursday)

Consider approving 2019-2020 School Calendar

Consider granting permission to solicit bods for all Natchitoches Parish District 9 improvements on the recent Bond Proposal

Consider advertising and hiring a grant write for NPSB

Consider approving policy to drug test all new employees

Discuss retention plan for school bus drivers of ECCO Ride Bus Co.

The School Board regular meeting will be held Thursday, 14 at 5 pm in the School Board Office on Royal Street.

Tabled until next month:

Presentation of School Board audit for 2017-18 FY

26 thoughts on “School Board discusses four-day school week, re-opening Cloutierville, teacher retention

  1. In this conversation above, the education of the children falls well below high expectations for the children and the teachers. High expectations produce better students and better test scores. No one person is responsible for a failing education system. The schools and the school board should know where their students come from, what their parents can do to help them, and treat these parents with respect. Parents generally want their kids to do better than the parents have done. Parents do care. They care how their child is treated, what accomplishments they’ve made, and they care what the schools and school board thinks of the community.
    Every member of the school board, who has not been in education should have to substitute for a few days.

    • Amen to that. After a few days as a sub, these school board members would get a better idea about what’s really happening in our schools.

  2. Since last night all I here is people complaining about daycare. Who keeps your children when school is out for break? Who keeps your children during the summer? School
    is only in session for 180 days. So you have someone keeping your kids. I just want these parent to know that school is not set up to be your free daycare. If this happens, I will have Monday care for my children.

  3. Wasnt it Benefield that helped bring Duke here violating hiring policies costing the system 160,000$? Didnt he use his position on the board to get his wife a promotion? Duke brought in Skiner. The last thing we need is more advice from you sir!

  4. The purpose of the public school system is to educate and prepare the students to be successful, productive citizens, NOT to accommodate the needs/wants/desires of the parents. Unless the parents are willing to become full partners in this endeavor and contribute or even sacrifice as necessary, the system will fail. The four-day week proposal might save money, but it will not enhance the education effort and may in fact be detrimental. A far better suggestion would be a year-round school schedule, which has been proven to produce better educational outcomes for a student population like that of Natchitoches.

    • Absolutely. But as great as a year-round schedule is, one the problems facing this school system is retaining teachers. Taking away their summer could be a deal breaker.

  5. I believe one of the greatest ways that parents can help teachers is through teaching their children good qualities like manners and a good work ethic. My youngest child will be graduating this year so my dog in this fight is strictly from a distance these days. I have however seen instances where children are having issues grasping something in class and the only help offered to parents who do care about their children’s education are sent to websites so that we can teach what isn’t being taught in classes. The school system must et back to teaching children to learn a subject and not how to pass a certain standardized test! Our teachers need all the support we can give them but I am not a math/English/Science and so on teacher! I will however train children I am in direct contact with to be better students whenever I can.

  6. It all comes down to parenting. The vast majority of parents in this town just don’t care about their child’s education. They are not actively involved in what the kids are doing in school. So many think that a child’s education is up to the teacher. Wrong! You can’t just put them on a bus in the morning and never think about it again. The parents have to care. Work with the kids at night. Check up on them with their projects and homework. Until that changes, anything the school board does is just throwing money at a lost cause.

    • you are correct ! I know several teachers in the parish and they say parents treat them as daycare not as a teacher.They will bring the kids early and come to get them late and half all kinds of excuses.Most everything starts at home as it should,don’t want to be a parent use protection.

    • You’re absolutely right. But I’ll say this. I’ve been on both sides of the teacher/parent divide. As a teacher I rarely got support from parents, often getting nasty attitudes about their child’s grades and behavior. But as a parent, I’ve been shoved out of getting more involved with my child’s education. There was no PTA or something like it at 2 of my kid’s schools. So I volunteered – available 5 days a week, any school in the city, clerical and teaching skills, could teach arts and crafts, etc. With 7 years in different parishes in the state, I’d been vetted in every school system I’d ever worked in. But some schools don’t even let parents past the front office, so what do you think is their response to volunteering is? Two years ago, when my child forgot lunch and I tried to take it to her, the school’s receptionist told me I couldn’t even walk into the commons area where the kids hang out during lunch. I understood her refusing to interrupt class time to tell my kid that her lunch was waiting in the office for her. The reason I couldn’t go past the front office? In the past some parents had gone into the school and started fights with students. What kind of parent does that?

  7. Well this is a stupid idea, it forces working parents to pay more since they now have to find a daycare or sitter for 1 day per week. These idiots in the school board are incapable of managing money and they cut costs at our expense and the expense of our children’s education.

  8. I left the district 4 years ago because Skinner kept cutting the budget and cutting jobs. I have a Master’s degree, and they couldn’t guarantee a place for me. So I gave up, and I now teach in Burkeville, TX. Sounds like you already know where the problem lies. NPSB has some amazing teachers! Don’t lose the ones you already have.

    • I am sorry to hear that you had to leave Tracey,but you are exactly
      right on your opinion and Skinner could care less about the kids or faculty.

      • Skinner is his own biggest fan!!! As you said he doesn’t care and he makes sure he has the right people on that board to rubber stamp whatever he wants. Nothing will change until all the old ones retire and bring in New and fresh ideas. They wouldn’t be there for free.

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