School Board discusses school dismissal time, MLK Head Start building, and more

The Natchitoches Parish School Board meeting Thursday afternoon was brief. When questioned about rumors that claimed additional time was being added on the school day for the 2019-2020 school year, Superintendent Dale Skinner said teachers can’t get everything they have to get done in a day, done before 3 pm. Some schools get out slightly before 3 pm, but now all schools will get out at 3:10 pm, unless there’s a special case where they need extra time to get all the students out through car line and busses. Skinner said he’ll get with the principals to see what needs to happen, but that they still have to get in the required amount of minutes for instructional time each day.

Skinner also told the board about repairs that need to be made to the MLK Head Start building. He recently met with the Save the Children organization, which will be taking over the Natchitoches Parish Head Start Program. Skinner suggested entering into a long-term lease for the property as long as it’s used as a Head Start facility.

One item that took a lot of discussion would grant authority to the Superintendent to determine beginning rate of pay, step increases, continued rate of pay and years-experience based on critical need performance.

HR Director Linda Page said long-term subs must work for 30 consecutive days in the same position at a rate of $60 per day. Moving forward from the 31st day the pay rate increases to $168 per day. The problem occurs, for example, when a long-term sub works for 40 days and is placed in a new position and they have to start all over again at $60 per day. This is unfair to them.

Another problem occurs, for example, when a teacher transferring into the system, or a teacher being promoted to a principal, is expected to start at the pay rate for “zero years of experience.” A beginning principal may end up making less than when they were working as a teacher. Or a certified math teacher who also coaches would have to start from the bottom of the pay scale. These situations are unfair.

This agenda item would allow the superintendent to make discretionary decisions based on experience and length of employment.

Board members were cautious of Skinner having this much power. They seemed to be reassured slightly when Skinner assured them Page would be the one to bring matters related to beginning rate of pay, step increases, continued rate of pay and years-experience to his attention.

The board unanimously approved the item with an amendment to include a 1 year sunset date. The board will then reevaluate how this arrangement is working. The board also agreed that they will look into revising the pay scale and any policies that deal with beginning rate of pay, step increases, continued rate of pay and years-experience.

The board approved another agenda item will initiate a labor market survey for the incoming superintendent. This will not begin a search for the new superintendent, but will give the school board an idea of what the pay structure will need to be if and when they initiate a superintendent search.

The board also agreed to bring in a representative from OpenGov to provide them with more information on how the business can help the school board improve its financial transparency. This would help the school board increase the public’s trust in what they’re doing.

Board member Reba Phelps said she received good feedback from community members who are excited by the idea after reading about it in the news media.

13 thoughts on “School Board discusses school dismissal time, MLK Head Start building, and more

  1. quite a few of the new members are doing a great job and work very hard.
    You cannot fix what is already broken over night.Is Dale a voted position ?
    why not fire him or vote him out ? I know teachers who are leaving the state let alone parrishe’s for better pay La is one of the lowest pay scales,if any one
    person should be paid its a teacher they bust their butt’s daily to teach un mannered children or to babysit your kids,teachers aren’t meant to raise your kids they teach.

  2. few years ago and you can “google” this Skinner took private school phone
    numbers for parents and used them .This man ought to be on city council
    as crooked as he is .

  3. Most of the schools did let out until 3 or 3:10 except for Natchitoches Junior High last year. The poor elementary students from the Clouierville area had to sit on a bus for 25 to 30 mins everyday. The high schools students waited for 15 mins in the old Cloutierville school parking lot waiting for the NJH bus! These poor students didnt even start to head home till 4 pm or later if the bus got caught by a train. Most students were on a bus til 5:30-5:45. Skinner didnt even care it was complains made and he would say he was looking into it! These student from out in this area are on bus at 5:15 am then dont get home til after 5 PM in the evenings. Some students were spending more then 12 hours a day between bus rides and school. Its suppose to be what’s best for the students. I dont see this being the best! Skinner is definitely not the best for the students!

    • well said but of course Skinner wanted to close down Cloutierville and
      guess what ? they didn’t have to .Why is Skinner still in office ??

      • Exactly they should have left Cloutierville school open! Skinner needs to Go! I pray they get him out soon. He makes our parish look like a joke. He’s all about his self!

  4. Has the board lost its mind? Letting Skinner determine the pay scale has to be th dumbedt thing the board has ever done! The market place evaluation is just another way of giving Skinner a raise! We need to do away the the entire school board system!! NOW! I’m going to see if that can be presented for public vote!

    • You can say that again! what the hell were they thinking! what will be the criteria to determine pay increases? Skinner!!! talking about a foster cuck!!! What about highly successful teachers already employed in the system is making less that a teacher entering from another system? This will encourage teachers to leave seeking higher pay in other systems.

      • Did you reply to yourself?

        Anyway, the school board appears to be as convoluted as the city and parish councils are.

  5. Just because Ms. Page brings something tho Mr. Skinner’s attention doesn’t mean he’ll act on it. Nor does it mean he won’t discriminate against someone in favor of rewarding one of his cronies.

    You school board members just made a huge mistake.

  6. Skinner doesn’t need any more power than he already has. How long do we have to put up with him before we realize he is one of the problems?!?

    • Did those dark ages include the 80’s? The state I lived in decided every class must be one hour, and we had 6 classes per day.

      But if schools went until 3:15 in this parish, kids living way out in Cloutierville, Ashland, Robeline, and Provencale wouldn’t get home until close to 5:00. In the winter, that’s after dark.

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