NPSB Marthaville Town Hall Meeting Volatile

Marthaville Principal, Micah Nicholson, welcomed the crowd of over one hundred people as they filled into the school’s gymnasium. Once everyone was seated he introduced School Superintendent, Dr. Grant Eloi and Director of Business Affairs, Lee Waskom. He then recognized the School Board Members in attendance: Beverly Broadway, Vice President Reba Phelps, President Steven Harris, Emile Metoyer and Eugene Garner.

Principal Nicholson asked President Harris to open in prayer and this was last pleasantry of the evening.

Dr. Eloi, much like in the Provencal meeting, opened with an apology for providing too much information too soon and not focusing more on the detailed steps that needed to happen before a new High School could be entertained. The crowd listened intently but occasionally scoffed at the information being supplied.

Eloi and Waskom presented the same information that was provided in the Provencal meeting. This included their vision to consolidate Districts 6, 8 and 10 into a new District 11. The Board would vote in June for said consolidation. This information was obviously upsetting to the crowd who could not contain their displeasure.

Once this presentation was over Dr. Eloi introduced a resident who compiled his own
presentation that was much more pleasing to the attendees.

Marthaville resident, Phillip Strahan, was granted permission to present his own Powerpoint with his own set of facts, which somewhat contradicted the facts previously provided by Waskom. Waskom tried to answer questions and correct the misinformation as it was being presented but was declined by Mr. Strahan. The crowd was cheering and clapping with every new slide that came across the screen.

Waskom patiently waited until his presentation was complete to explain where his tax information was gathered. He verified all of his numbers were provided by the Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor’s Office. During this time Dr. Eloi was answering remarks and questions that were growing more and more heated as time went on.

Some of the heated remarks directed at the Board included; “We do not trust you, you might as well be from Washington DC.” “You closed our schools in 1981 and we were forced to be bussed to a school we didn’t want to go to.” “We want our tax money to stay in Marthaville, Natchitoches gets everything and we get nothing.”

“We will not send our kids to a school where they fight all the time.” “Marthaville kids deserve better and that’s why most kids don’t graduate from Natchitoches Central”. “We work hard for our money and we are tired of supporting other schools with our money.” “The School Board could have repealed the Federal Desegregation Order anytime they wanted but chose not to.” “Natchitoches only wants to take everyones tax money and waste it on everything except roads.”

Eloi politely asked that the citizens line up at the microphone so he could hear better and address everyone that had a question and so they did.

Marthaville resident and Educator, Laura Strahan, addressed the crowd and was not in support of the consolidation and listed a long list of Parishes in Louisiana who have Districts with higher ratings than Natchitoches Parish and they all had one thing in common. They have K-12 smaller schools.

All through the evening the crowd kept asking why our Parish can’t be more like Sabine Parish who has all K-12 small schools.

Another resident who made her way to microphone wanted to know why their School Board Member, Beverly Broadway, was sitting there not saying a word. She also advised that she had done her homework with the Registrar of Voters Office and said that it only took 772 votes to recall their Board Member. Some in the crowd clapped as the resident advised they had enough votes in the gym to have her recalled. Some sat in dismay.

Mrs. Broadway did not hesitate to stand and address the crowd. She reminded them that there are other residents aside from the ones present that night who would have a say in the survey as well. She answered all of their concerns.

Dr. Eloi asked if the other Board Members in attendance had anything else they wanted to say.

Board Member Reba Phelps, stood up and assured the crowd that the NPSB members were there to listen and will be continuously working together. She also stated that all of the Board Members consider the whole Parish their district, not just their respective areas.

Board Member Eugene Garner advised the crowd of the successes that his District has had by working together in unity. As the meeting ended, Dr. Eloi, Lee Waskom and the School Board members stayed and visited individually with the residents.

The next community forum will be held at New Birth Baptist Church in Natchez on April 27, 2021 at 6:00pm.


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18 thoughts on “NPSB Marthaville Town Hall Meeting Volatile

  1. Who wrote this article? Why such an effort to portray Marthaville residents as “volatile” for just asking questions and voicing concerns for their community and their children/grandchildren? Such a badly written, biased, downright false representation of the actual meeting.

  2. Sounds like a very important meeting with important facts and opinions stated from those for and opposed to what was proposed. Any way to have the video of the meeting posted to clear the air for all sides?

  3. Sit down Strahan’s? Really? STRAHANS wasn’t the only one standing! IN FACT MARTHAVILLE community was the ones STANDING AND LETTING IT BE KNOWN THAT WE ARE AGAINST THIS! HOW ABOUT YOU STAND UP AND LET YOUR NAME BE KNOWN BEFORE YOU TELL ANYONE TO SIT DOWN? Coward much?

  4. @JR and Junior:

    Reading this article doesn’t give you a clear understanding of what was discussed and proposed in rebuttal at the meeting last night. This meeting wasn’t “volatile” by any means. There were some comments made, but the comments quoted in this article are not entirely correct. People in this community care about their children and just want their voice in how their tax dollars are spent, and their passion was shown last night. Why must you hide behind a nickname instead of your full name to argue your point? We’re all open ears here, but a rushed idea of consolidation while dangling a high school POSSIBILITY in front of our communities is not the way to get through to people. This article was written to paint a picture that doesn’t exist.

  5. This article should at least acknowledge the fact, even Mr Eloi clearly acknowledged; Marthaville will fund about 45% of the 3 districts operating. That’s a fact! Cloutierville closed. Provençal is struggling. Marthaville is doing great. Again, even Mr Eloi said Marthaville has plenty for upgrades and repairs. Even giggled a bit about it. As their proposal stands, there is no incentive for Marthaville to consolidate with 2 struggling districts. The school board claims transparency, but won’t admit the only reason they are proposing a “new high school” in whatever form, be it K-12 or 9-12, is so that Marthaville’s district taxpayers won’t be upset that we will be footing the majority of the bill, with a high school or without! My child attends NCHS, and will graduate a Chief, like I did. I have no complaints with Central, except we have no after school activity bus come out here, where the Provençal area has. My other child, will start high school as a Chief. This outcome could determine if she finishes there.

  6. This is all part of the division of urban Natchitoches Parish and rural Natchitoches Parish.

    Money management has become one sided and rural people are feeling slighted. We want our voice and our fair share of revenue. Why is that so much to ask?

    When rural residents speak up, they are called volatile, and other names. Sure there is anger after all these years. Sure anger is wrong, but the way to help with discussions is to listen. Listen to them and do something.

    To care about kids is to care about the amount of time to be bussed. Also for kids to be close to home because of family and religious beliefs are important to rural residents.

    And now people, I am going to remind you once more about the Equality Act and sex education that is coming from Washington to be afflicted on our children in the most horrible manner. Become informed.

    Don’t wait. Stop it now! Get school board to tell you NOW how they are going to handle this. Once it is here, then the outlook will be close to hopeless.

  7. Will the School Board please provide a clear map of the new proposed District 11? As a parent whose home seems to be on the edge of district lines, I would like some definitive, up-to-date, accurate information.

    I know in the original post a map was provided. I feel it was hard to discern the exact district line locations.
    Thank you.

  8. I think the biggest problem people in Marthaville have is their children are still going to have to go as far if not further to get to this proposed new school. How many of the board members have children/grandchildren in the Marthaville School System? Of course it makes more sense for Provencal and Cloutierville areas because it is still somewhat close to them from what I understand. I think a school maybe in the middle like in Provencal/Robeline would be a better bet. But regardless there needs to be a second high school for all these schools. Natchitoches Central is way over crowded and that is the main reason my child will not attend there.

  9. The reporter needs to get his facts straight. The meeting was not volatile. The people who spoke were just very passionate about the subject. We love our school and community and we want what’s best for our kids.

  10. This is very negative slant and inaccurate report on a productive exchange between citizens, our board members, and school superintendent. It is very clear Marthaville residents would not benefit from a consolidation, but our tax dollars are the only way to support this proposed new high school that offers no help to us by location. The facts were clear to all in attendance.

    • I’m thinking of my grandkids. I think we should discuss location if it’ll make Marthaville sit easier. I wish we could have kept robeline open or everyone have a school starting all the way up to graduation. That just can’t happen. But don’t shut this door just yet.

  11. I’m so confused that rural Natchitoches Parish no longer just wants another high school but now wants multiple K-12 schools throughout the parish? Are you folks serious? Yes that would be great along with perfect blacktop paved roads and everything else on your wishlist! The school board brought forward a viable option and Marthaville showed themselves. I am disgraced to be apart of this community with self proclaimed leaders acting this way. Shame shame…

  12. People of Marthaville asked for a more rural high school and the school board has delivered the first ever glimmer of that happening. I am distraught reading this article but not surprised by the behavior of those that attended and personally named. I am thankful I had to work because I probably would have lost it on some of my fellow community members. Thank you NPSB for putting this on the table and bringing potential change to our parish. We are stepping in the right direction.

    • Buddy you sound fired up like me. I was at the Provencal meeting and wish more could have attended that one. Think of our kids folks

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