School Board upholds creation of new consolidated District 12

The Natchitoches Parish School Board discussed and considered repealing creation of taxing District 12 (Robeline/Marthaville area) at its July 13 meeting. This agenda item was originally voted on by the board at the June meeting.

The motion to repeal the creation of the taxing district failed with the following votes cast:

Yea: Chad Fredieu, Micah Nicholson, Barbara Page

Nay: Russell E Danzy, Emile Metoyer, Billy Benefield Jr, Steven Harris, Dorothy McGaskey, Tan’Keia Palmer, Reba Phelps, Lela Harvey

Several community members spoke to the board before the vote was cast, sharing their concerns about what the taxing district would mean for residents.

David Parish, lifelong resident of Natchitoches Parish (Robeline/Marthaville area), a retired teacher, and a landowner said levying a new tax district in addition to the 20 mils district 12 currently pays would be a burden to many in the area.

Lisa Davis, an experienced teacher, said the community is angry because the board pushed through the vote for the new district 12 consolidation before any landowners in the Robeline/Marthaville area could receive notice.

Crystal Smith, a property owner and tax payer in District 10, described Marthaville as a blue collar community binded by the school at its heart. When asked what the purpose of the taxing district was, Smith said only vague answers were given including “sports” and “safety.”

“For years there’s been an issue of an issue of mistrust between the board members and the District 10 voting community,” she said. “Are the benefits of this consolidation equal? Will Marthaville benefit the same as Natchitoches? If the answer is no, then morally, you should repeal this consolidation.”

Board Member Micah Nicholson said he’s on the same page as his constituents. 

“There are many hurt feelings and broken trust over the decision made by the board last month not to table the issue of consolidating multiple districts to create a new tax District 12,” said Nicholson. “When asked for time to better understand the issue, providing clarity and transparency to the people who are directly affected by this issue, the board voted to move forward without granting people this wish. People are angry and confused over why this issue was handled this way.”

He asked his colleagues to repeal the vote from June and go back to the drawing table to find clarity on money raising, and fair ways to do so. Board member Chad Fredieu voiced his support.

Board member Steven Harris made a motion to table the item, which dies for lack of a second.

Other agenda items included:

Approve Combination Walk-in Cooler and Freezer bid analysis

Approve the 2023-2024 MOU Dual Enrollment Agreement between NSU and NPSB to continue to offer students the option of dual enrollment courses

Approve MOU between NPSB and BPCC to continue to offer students the options of dual enrollment courses

Approve Rapides Effective Schools Grant for the amount of $142,000 beginning July 1, 2023 and ending June 30, 2024 with permission for the Superintendent to sign all necessary documents

Adopt Call Resolution for a November 18, 2023 election for the new Consolidated Taxing District 11 for 8 mills to support Provencal Elementary/Jr High School regarding BRE support in lieu of/replacing the current 14 mills in District 8

Approve the 2023-2024 Alternative School and Program Handbook

Approve revisions to NPSB policy JDA banning corporal punishment in NPSB schools beginning in the 23-24 school year