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