NPSB Special Called Meeting

The Natchitoches Parish School Board met in a Special Called meeting Monday, August 17 in order to address two items on the agenda: consider approving Tax Exemption Application #20180501-ITE for Alliance Compressors, LLC and consider approving casual-professional dress code for teachers that will include the option of wearing scrubs/blue jeans as their professional wear with a potential sunset date.
Before the agenda items, the board and Superintendent Eloi thanked the voters of Consolidated School District 7 for approving a tax for school improvements. Eloi also gave reports on several different areas concerning the upcoming start of the school year.

In what was inarguably the highpoint of the evening, Ms. Kate Wells of Central High School’s class of 1963 presented the board with 200 masks for the children of the district. Each mask is homemade and is imprinted with a colorful design. Ms. Wells and her classmates were forced to forgo their 58th reunion due to the COVID pandemic. In lieu of the reunion, Ms. Wells and classmates Bertha Davis, Mary Joyce Courtney and Ernest Davis decided to be of service and got to work. Each mask is hand sewn and the designs are intended to appeal to children. The masks were presented to Superintendent Eloi and Principals Davis and Solice of Weaver and East. The Natchitoches Parish Journal commends the men and women of the Central High School class of 1963 and thanks them for their kindness. We also welcome Ms. Kate Wells back to Natchitoches as she returns home after retiring from her career in Houston, Texas. Our community will be better with her in it!

The board then addressed the agenda items. Ms. Laura Lyles of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce was joined by the plant manager, operations manager and comptroller of the Alliance plant in speaking in favor of approving the tax exemption for the expansion of the plant. They pointed out that Alliance is the parish’s second largest employer providing a 30 million dollar yearly payroll and employing 600 people, eclipsed in size only by NSU. Alliance is also a supporter of the Chamber’s A+ coalition, an active chamber member as well as a partner in NSU’s AMT program, PARC Natchitoches, Relay for Life and other community events. The tax exemption passed with board members Metoyer and Palmer voting against.

The next item on the agenda proved to be surprisingly contentious, drawing a good deal of spirited and occasionally heated discussion from the board members as to the appropriateness of jeans and scrubs. The board passed the measure allowing teachers the option to wear those items with the policy expiring when the state leaves phase 3 of the COVID response. Board President Billy Benefield voted against the measure. The meeting then adjourned.


9 thoughts on “NPSB Special Called Meeting

  1. I watched with interest the school board meeting yesterday and am a little perplexed. First, Mr. Benefield vehemently opposed teachers temporarily wearing scrubs through Phase III, saying scrubs are not professional dress. He quoted someone as saying teachers wearing scrubs “is absurd.” I taught in a high performing school 22 years ago where teachers wore scrubs. I can assure you the children respected the teachers, and the children’s academic performance was commendable. Mr. Benefield said he called every teacher for whom he had contact information in his cell phone. Were they all retired teachers? Were they teachers who taught 30 years ago? Teaching then was certainly nothing like it is now.

    I would invite Mr. Benefield to mask up, wear his suit and tie, and spend one full day in a preschool classroom. When the children run up to him and wipe their snotty noses on his slacks and ask them to help them change out of their soiled britches, he might begin to understand what teaching is like today. If he’s there long enough, he will be able to clean up vomit as well, all while scrubbing surfaces for covid and turning his head while children cough and sneeze all over him.

    Second, I was perplexed by his comment that covid-19 is no different from what we have faced in the past, and he likened it to SARS. According to my quick google search, 7 or 8 Americans were diagnosed with SARS, and no Americans died. I’m not sure how this compares to covid-19.

    I want to close by thanking teachers for taking on this monumental task of teaching our children and keeping them safe. Before spring, your biggest worry was active shooters. Now, your most significant concern is an invisible germ, and you won’t see it coming. Thank you, NPSB, for allowing teachers to wear professional dress they can go home and sanitize. If doctors and nurses garner respect in scrubs, so, too, can teachers. I watched it happen all school year long when I was a teacher.

    Prayers for peace and health.

  2. Tax exemptions is a means to attract businesses to our area. We have little else to offer considering average aptitude and work ethic in the area. To gauge what I am saying all you have to do is order a hamburger or pizza and tell me the lazy staff got your order right. Standards of performance are falling all over this state. So with tax exemptions kiss jobs good bye.

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