Finance Supervisor Lee Waskom presented a spending schedule for Consolidated District No. 9 Bond (City schools) at the School Board committee meeting on Feb. 2. The spending schedule breaks down how the $19.75 million bond is being spent (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).
Blue is completed or substantially bid on, pink is things that are currently being scheduled and ready to be sent out to bid, and yellow is what Waskom himself is managing.
Waskom said he’s talked with the engineer and went over what’s left to be spent. Some things on the list were fixed with BRE money.
Intercom systems still need to be installed and all the carpet throughout the City schools will be replaced with DCDT tile. The Natchitoches Jr. High is the only school on the list that’s basically complete.
Somewhere between 200-300 restrooms will be gutted and updated with automatic lighting, self flush toilets and other required upgrades to bring the facilities up to code. This will help with the cost currently being spent on maintenance.
It also includes new playground equipment for varying age levels with borders filled with rubber pellets. Plans also include moving away from the chain link “prison look” fencing and use wrought iron fencing. Signs need to be installed at each school, as at least East Natchitoches is missing an identifying sign outside the school building. The hope is that working on improving schools will help instill a sense of pride in everyone.
Through this, the district will end up with some extra money that can be used to expand music and art programs like band or orchestra at the Superintendent’s discretion.
Waskom said the district also has enough money to fix six gym floors. The plan is to replace Marthaville’s completely, while some inner city schools will be sanded and refinished. Goldonna is included in this.
In other business, Board member Emile Metoyer added an item to the agenda to put out a survey regarding bi-weekly payroll for the upcoming school year. Currently teachers are paid monthly on their last working day. This can cause them to go for extended periods of time as Thanksgiving and Christmas are a bit of an issue as well as the month of May on occasion.
Eloi suggested paying teachers on the last day of the month. There was concern about teachers not receiving a check before Christmas, but Eloi mentioned that teachers would receive their tax checks on Dec. 10.
The school district achieved unitary status three years ago but the judge ordered a 3 year supervisory period, which ended Dec. 31, 2020. John Winston spoke on concerns of lack of parity with the employment practices. Out of 110 teachers at Natchitoches Central, 96 are white and only 12 are black. Same kind of statistics seem to persist at most of the schools in Natchitoches and 60% of the students are black and we’d like to see those numbers come up [number of black teachers and administrative staff members].
Other agenda site ms included:
Approve Virtual Expulsion Student Plan
Approve 2021-2022 Natchitoches School Board Calendar (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW)
Approve Ecco Ride contract extension
Approve coordinated funding request
The board voted to table a resolution ordering and calling special elections to be held in Consolidated School District No. 8 and No. 10 to authorize for the renewal of special taxes. The School Board feels the April election is too soon, so Waskom said the Board will see this come back up on the agenda sometime in the Fall.
Approve the addition of Pre-K and Kindergarten (80 students) at the Natchitoches Magnet School for the 2021-2022 school year. Board member Billy Benefield voted against this agenda item.