Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

Laird to Remain @ RHS

07/02/2014

Billy Laird, Ruston High School (RHS) Athletic Director and former Head Coach of the football team, will remain AD for the foreseeable future, instead of retiring as had been announced. He will assume some additional duties as an Assistant Principal.

Reportedly, a replacement for Laird had been tagged for the job, but an illness in the family prompted the prospect to not relocate at this time.

Said District Seven’s Trott Hunt at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), “I had heard several comments from folks at Ruston High about what an excellent job he (Laird) had done in the last year, and participated, and was a vital part. I know this wasn’t quite according to our plan, but I applaud the administration for being flexible, and considering what the folks there wanted to do.”

During the Building & Grounds Committee meeting, Architect Mike Walpole reported on the progress of construction at Cypress Springs Elementary School. Walpole said the project was on schedule for completion “about this time next year.”

Also, Walpole reported that the artificial turf project at RHS was substantially complete.

The Finance Committee discussed the new compensation plan for non-certificated employees, and it was approved by the full board. Overall cost of the plan was said to be about $300 thousand.

In approving the the 2014/2015 budget for the Lincoln Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission, mention was made of the significant capital expenditure for the year. Retiring administrator Jerry Moore said they had budgeted to buy a vehicle for the office, as they had been using their personal vehicles for the past twenty years.

In giving the financial report, Business Manager George Murphy said that the the $900 thousand plus increase in sales taxes for the year was about double the amount that had been projected.

June 2014 Sales Taxes

The 5/31/14 Financial Statement showed a fund balance of about $38.1 million, compared to about $38.9 million on 4/30/14, and about $39 million on 5/31/13.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

06/30/2014

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, July 1, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

See here the agenda.

A couple of committees will meet prior to the full meeting: the Finance Comittee at 5:15 PM (agenda), and the Building & Grounds Committee at 5:30 PM (agenda).

The Finance Committee will discuss a new salary schedule for non-certificated employees – cafeteria, bus drivers, custodial, etc. The proposed plan would reward longevity with increases in pay.

See here the memo.

The Building & Grounds Committee will hear an update on various construction projects from Architect Mike Walpole. During the full board meeting, the personnel report will be presented.

In New Business, several items will be considered.

Lincoln Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission – proposed budget.

Cypress Springs Elementary construction – change order.

MFP Funding Lawsuit – resolution.

Ad Valorem Taxes 2014 – proposed millages.

Hico Citizen’s Association – Cooperative Endeavor Agreement.

Lewis Jones Announces for District Judge

06/07/2014

Lewis Jones has officially announced his candidacy for district judge for all of Lincoln and Union Parishes.

“I believe my unique combination of areas of practice and extensive courtroom experience will be one of the things that distinguishes me from the other candidates and makes me the best choice for this job,” Jones said.

Lewis worked evenings and weekends at Dixie Dandy and Piggly Wiggly while in high school, was salutatorian of his graduating class at Ruston High School and was awarded a full scholarship to LA Tech University. While at Tech, he worked full-time at the Ruston Police Department and the Ruston Marshal’s Office. He graduated from Tech with honors and was awarded a scholarship to LSU Law School. Upon graduating from LSU, Lewis returned to Ruston, where he has practiced law for over 24 years.

“Although I primarily handle criminal and family law cases, I have also handled automobile accidents, wills, successions, property disputes, and real estate transactions,” Jones said. The vast majority of the court’s docket is comprised of criminal and family law cases, the areas in which Jones has concentrated his practice. Jones also believes his courtroom experience is an important factor for voters to consider. While some people think that all lawyers work in the courtroom, that is simply not the case. “I have handled more cases in the courtroom than the other announced candidates for this job combined,” he said.

“I believe we need a judge with integrity who will decide cases fairly and impartially,” Jones said. “Throughout my career, I have represented people from all walks of life and have not made any distinction based on their race or socio-economic background. As a judge, I would continue to treat people the same way that I have throughout my career and would make my decisions based solely on the law and out of fairness and impartiality.”

“I believe that people appearing in court deserve a judge who has extensive experience with the types of cases appearing in front of him and also a judge with the most courtroom experience possible. My background, work ethic, law enforcement experience, areas of practice, and courtroom experience distinguish me from the other candidates. That is why I believe I am the most qualified for this position, and why I am asking the citizens of Lincoln and Union Parish for their vote,” Jones said.

Lewis and his wife Gina are the parents of 2 daughters, ages 9 and 11, who attend Cypress Springs Elementary School in Ruston. He has been elected president of the Lincoln Parish Bar Association twice and instituted continuing legal education courses for local attorneys during his tenure as president. He was appointed by the mayor of Ruston to the Ruston Community Housing Development Organization and served as the organization’s secretary, was appointed to the Diversity Committee for the Lincoln Parish School Board, was one of the original members of the Third Judicial District’s Drug Court team, is a Special Olympics Partner, and has been an Adopt-A-School Partner in Lincoln Parish for the past 7 years. He and Gina were named the Outstanding Chamber Adopt-A-School Partner in the non-business category in 2011. Lewis is a member of First Baptist Church in Ruston.

Lincoln Test Scores Decline

06/04/2014

Louisiana Education Assessment Program (LEAP) Lincoln School District test scores for 2013-2014 declined from last years scores, the first time in recent memory that has happened. LEAP tests are administered in 4th and 8th grades in the subjects of English, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Accountability Coordinator Donna Doss told last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) that 4th grade overall passing scores were 74% vs 80% in 2013. The 8th grade scores were 81% this year vs 82% in 2013.

Doss attributed the declines to a change in the testing methodology from what had been administered in the past. The newer tests are compatible with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Common Core Standards.

Earlier, the board approved the recommendation of the Finance Committee to modify the district’s bonus schedules.

See here the bonus schedule.

Business Manager George Murphy said that May sales tax collections were up, and that the 4/30/14 fund balances were about $2 1/2 million lower than the 4/30/13 balances. The extensive capital spending program was the cause of the decline, Murphy said.

Finally, as we had predicted, the Ruston Daily Leader jacked up its pricing for the board’s legal ads. The hike – from $3.75 to $4.75 per hundred words – will result in yearly billing rising from about $19 thousand/year to about $24 thousand/year.

See here the memo and bid.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

06/02/2014

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, June 3, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

There will be a 5:15 Finance Committee Meeting to discuss changes in the compensation plan and salary schedule for teachers.

Here is the agenda.

See here the memo.

The meeting of the full board is set for 6:00 PM.

Here is the agenda.

Among the items up for discussion are the personnel reports. Also, there is the list of the 2013-2014 retirees. Notable on the list is Ruston High School (RHS) Athletic Director Billy Laird.

Business Manager George Murphy and Superintendent Danny Bell are recommending that the June salary supplement bonuses be paid.

See here the memo.

Belton Addresses Residency, School Attendance Issues

05/23/2014

John Belton, a candidate for Third Judicial District Attorney, and his wife Alana, issued a statement today to dispel the rumor that they moved their son to West Monroe to play football.

The Belton’s have two children, Alexis and Jon Randall. Belton said that eight years ago when Alexis was at Ruston Junior High School, concerns about the 12-year-old student were brought to their attention. Based on those concerns and a medical doctor’s evaluation, a different educational format was recommended. After much research and prayer, the Beltons transferred her to another public school system, Ouachita Parish, which utilized the recommended format. Since keeping them together was in the children’s best interest, they also transferred Jon Randall, who was eight-years-old at the time.

“As an eight-year-old, Jon Randall was not recruited by West Monroe High School for football. Rather, he was entering the third grade and was more interested in trucks and dinosaurs. We did not know then that he would play high school football. We simply knew that we needed to get the help our daughter required,” John stated.

In making the decision to transfer their children, Belton ensured that they did it legally. They researched all of their options and resources. The transfer became a big financial sacrifice in that they had to purchase a second home but considered it worthwhile because this provided their daughter a chance to succeed while learning to deal with her condition.

Alexis has since graduated from West Monroe High School and attends college where she helped to bring Campus Crusade Ministry to her university. What was difficult and hard for her to discuss at 12 years of age has become her testimony about faith and accomplishment. As a member of Athletes in Action, she has traveled to Los Angeles and Africa sharing her testimony about how, through Christ, individuals can prevail despite any disability or personal obstacles.

“Those who are parents will understand that even though Alexis has graduated we allowed Jon Randall to remain in school in Ouachita Parish because of the relationships he has formed since the third grade,” Alana said. “However, we have continued to support and sponsor Lincoln Parish schools. If it were not for the concern and help of the Lincoln Parish teachers for Alexis she would not be the success she is today. And for that we are eternally grateful.”

John Belton says this statement will also answer the question of whether he is qualified to run as a candidate in the Third Judicial District.

“I would not be a candidate for D.A. if I did not meet the legal qualifications for that office. Having more than one home does not disqualify a candidate,” John said.

The Louisiana Constitution states in order to be eligible to hold the office of district attorney, the candidate must have been admitted to the practice of law for at least five years and have resided in the district for the two years before the election. [See La. Const., Art. V, Sec. 26(A)].

“I’ve been a career prosecutor for over 22 years and have lived and voted in Lincoln Parish since 1992. The Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor has confirmed, per letter, that my homestead exemption has been in Lincoln Parish since 1992. In addition, the Louisiana Secretary of State, who is in charge of elections, confirmed, per letter, that I have been a registered voter in Lincoln Parish since 1992,” John added.

Emma Purifoy Wins LA Student of the Year Award

05/07/2014

Emma Purifoy (L) & AE Phillips Principal Joanne Hood

Emma Purifoy (L) & AE Phillips Principal Joanne Hood


A. E. Phillips Laboratory School fifth-grader Emma Purifoy was recognized at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) as the Louisiana Elementary Student of the Year for 2014.

Cathi Cox-Boniol, Lincoln Achieve Coordinator, introduced Purifoy to the board and audience, which included almost all Lincoln schools’ principals.

Said Cox-Boniol, “Emma is a member of the cross country team, school choir, swim team, Missy Crain School of Dance, and Louisiana Delta Ballet Company. A member of Temple Baptist Church, she is also active in community service through LA Tech’s SOCA initiative, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, Scouting for Food, Operation Christmas Child, World Vision, and more.”

She added that “this outstanding student been named to the Principal’s List while maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the past five years.”

A very poised and erudite Purifoy addressed the board and thanked those who had helped her, including her parents and Cox-Boniol.

Last month, Purifoy and the other finalists for the award were recognized at a reception at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge.

In an earlier meeting of the board’s Building & Grounds Committee, architect Mike Walpole reported on the progress of the various construction projects around the district.

Walpole said the artificial turf at Ruston High School’s (RHS) James Field, and the lighting and concession booth projects at Hoss Garrett Stadium should be complete by the end of July.

As we had reported last Friday, principals were named at Simsboro and Cypress Springs. Also, RHS Assistant Principal David Crowe was appointed to the position of Auxiliary Services Coordinator, replacing the retiring Charles Owens.

In reports, Business Manager George Murphy reported on April, 2014 sales taxes and the 3/31/14 fund balances.

Simsboro, Cypress Springs Principals to be Named Next Tuesday.

05/02/2014

If the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) approves the recommendations of three interview committees – and likely it will – next Tuesday principals will be named at two Lincoln Parish schools, along with a Supervisor of Special Education.

Recommended to be principal of Simsboro School is Byron Miller.

See here the memo.

Cypress Springs Elementary will see Michelle Thrower as Principal.

See here the memo.

Ashley Brown will be the new Special Education Supervisor.

See here the memo.

All the appointments will be effective 7/1/2014.

The action will take place at the regular monthly meeting of the board, 6:00 PM, Tuesday, May 6, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Immediately preceding the full board (5:30 PM), the Building and Grounds Committee will meet to hear updates on several ongoing construction projects.

See here the agenda.

Another notable personnel action to be approved is the retirement of Charles Owens, Director of Auxiliary Services. In that position, Owens has overseen the construction of several new facilities, and the ongoing maintenance of the district’s infrastructure.

See here the personnel changes for May.

Area Tax Elections This Saturday

05/01/2014

Bienville Parish

Parishwide School District Proposition – Property Tax

Re-imposition of Expiring Tax

Shall Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bienville, State of Louisiana (the “District”), levy a special tax of twelve and one-hundredth (12.01) mills on all property subject to taxation in the District (an estimated $4,804,000 expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2015 and ending with the year 2024, solely for the purpose of paying salaries and benefits for employees and retirees of the Bienville Parish Schools?

School District No. 2 Proposition – Property Tax

New Tax

Shall School District No. 2, Bienville Parish, Louisiana (the “District”), incur debt and issue bonds to the amount of not exceeding $2,500,000, to run not exceeding 15 years from date thereof, with interest at a rate or rates not exceeding 7% per annum, for the purpose of acquiring and/or improving lands for building sites and playgrounds, including construction of necessary sidewalks and streets adjacent thereto; purchasing, erecting and/or improving school buildings and other school related facilities within and for the District and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings therefor, title to which shall be in the public; which bonds will be general obligations of the District and will be payable from ad valorem taxes to be levied and collected in the manner provided by Article VI, Section 33 of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana of 1974 and statutory authority supplemental thereto, with an estimated 5.50 mills to be levied in the first year of issue to pay said Bonds?

Ouachita Parish

East Ouachita Parish School District Proposition – Property Tax

Re-imposition of Expiring Tax

Shall East Ouachita Parish School District of the Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana (the “District”), incur debt and issue bonds not exceeding $28,500,000, in one or more series, to run not exceeding 20 years from date thereof, with interest at a rate not exceeding 8% per annum, for the purpose of acquiring and/or improving lands for building sites and playgrounds; including construction of necessary sidewalks and streets adjacent thereto; purchasing, erecting and/or improving school buildings and other school related facilities for the District, including, to the extent feasible, those specific school projects in the “Capital Improvements Plan” approved by the school board on February 13, 2014, and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings therefor, title to which shall be in the public; which bonds will be general obligations of the District payable from ad valorem taxes levied and collected in the manner provided by Article VI, Section 33 of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana of 1974 and statutory authority supplemental thereto, with no estimated increase in the millage rate to be levied in the first year of issue above the 30 mills currently being levied to pay General Obligation Bonds of the District?

Parishwide Proposition – Juvenile Detention Center Property Tax

Re-imposition of Expiring Tax

Shall the Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), continue to levy a special tax of two and nine-tenths (2.90) mills on all the property subject to taxation in said Parish for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2016 and ending with the year 2025, for the purpose of improving, maintaining, operating and equipping the Ouachita Parish Juvenile Detention Center? This is a renewal of an existing tax presently authorized through 2015. The amount reasonably expected to be generated by this tax in the first year is $2,968,912.00.

Parishwide Proposition – Library Property Tax

Re-imposition of Expiring Tax

Shall the Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), continue to levy a special tax of seven and sixty-four hundredths (7.64) mills on all the property subject to taxation in said Parish for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2016 and ending with the year 2025, for the purpose of providing funds for equipment, supplies, maintenance, operation, construction, acquisition, improvement, renovation and support of the Ouachita Parish Library and its branches? This is a renewal of an existing tax presently authorized through 2015. The amount reasonably expected to be generated by this tax in the first year is $7,821,572.00.

Union Parish

Parishwide Propositions Proposition No. 1 – Property Tax

New Tax

Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of Union, State of Louisiana (the “District”), incur debt and issue bonds not exceeding $42,500,000, in one or more series, to run not exceeding 20 years from the date thereof, with interest at a rate not exceeding 8% per annum, for the purpose of acquiring and/or improving lands for building sites and playgrounds, including construction of necessary sidewalks and streets adjacent thereto; purchasing, erecting and/or improving school buildings and other school related facilities within and for the District, and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings therefor, and specifically for those facilities, technology and security initiatives set forth in the “Capital Improvement Plan” approved by the School Board on January 13, 2014; which bonds will be general obligations of the District payable from ad valorem taxes levied and collected as provided by Article VI, Section 33 of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution and statutory authority supplemental thereto, with an estimated 13.50 mills to be levied in the first year of issue to pay said Bonds, provided the District shall not be authorized to issue the Bonds unless the following Sales Tax Proposition is also approved by the electorate?

Parishwide Propositions Proposition No. 2 – Sales Tax

New Tax

In the event of the passage of the foregoing Bond Proposition, shall the Parish School Board of the Parish of Union, State of Louisiana (the “School Board”), under the provisions of Article VI, Section 29 of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana of 1974, and other constitutional and statutory authority, be authorized to levy and collect, a tax of one percent (1%) (the “Tax”), in perpetuity, from and after July 1, 2014, upon the sale at retail, the use, the lease or rental, the consumption and storage for use or consumption of tangible personal property and on sales of services in the Parish (an estimated $2,400,000 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for an entire year), all as defined by law, with the proceeds thereof (after paying the reasonable and necessary costs and expenses of collecting and administering the Tax), to be dedicated and used for the purpose of operating and maintaining schools and school related facilities, including paying salaries and benefits of teachers and other school personnel?

Belton Announces for Lincoln/Union DA

04/30/2014

CU 1

Belton running for District Attorney

John Belton, an Assistant District Attorney in the Third Judicial District for over 22 years, officially announced that he is a candidate for the open District Attorney seat. Belton says it would be a privilege and an honor to serve both Lincoln and Union Parishes as District Attorney. “I have been encouraged to run because of my maturity and experience as a prosecutor as well as my business experience in the public and private sectors,” Belton said.

Belton says he considers it a high calling and a privilege to serve the community as a prosecutor and to hold offenders accountable for their actions. “As a career prosecutor, I have prosecuted thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases involving homicides, drugs, burglaries, home invasions, sexual assault, and crimes that are committed against those least capable of protecting themselves, like child abuse, domestic violence and senior citizen abuse. In doing so, I have and will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure our community is safe,” Belton said.

Equally important as prosecutorial experience, the position of District Attorney requires fiscal responsibility and administrative experience. Belton has a wealth of administrative experience in both the public and private sectors. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for two local institutions: Lincoln Health System Foundation with assets in excess of $26 million dollars and First National Bank with assets of over $200 million dollars. He and his wife, Alana, own and operate a small business.

From 1999 to 2005, he served on the Southern University Board of Supervisors. In 2001, he was unanimously elected as Chairman of the Board and re-elected to a second term by a unanimous vote of his peers in 2002. This leadership post as Chairman included: five academic campuses, over 15,000 students, a $160 million dollar annual budget and approximately 2,800 employees.

He believes the next District Attorney must be able to not only help protect our community by prosecuting criminals but also must be able to help improve overall public safety for the residents of Lincoln and Union Parishes. “I have learned from my life and legal experience that incarceration is not always the best solution in certain situations, especially for non-violent youthful offenders. I am a proponent for the Drug Court Program and other programs currently in place that aid our youth and young adults. By giving our non-violent young adults a second chance, they can become productive citizens,” Belton said.

Belton has conducted legal seminars for law enforcement officers. He has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching criminal justice and business law at Grambling State University.

Belton received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Southern University Law Center in 1990 and his undergraduate degree in 1986 from McNeese State University. He is a member of the United States Fifth Federal District Courts, Louisiana Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Lincoln Bar Association, and the Louis Martinet Society.

He is associated with numerous community and civic groups both past and present: Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce; Ruston–‐Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; Boys and Girls Club of North Central Louisiana; Boy Scouts of America; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Methodist Children’s Home; North Louisiana Legal Aid Council; United Way of Northeast Louisiana; and Ruston Jaycees. In December 2001, he was appointed to the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL). Belton also serves as the Chairman of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum Commission.

As a result of his leadership contributions and community service, Belton has received commendations from numerous organizations. In 2001, he was presented with one of Southern University Law Center’s highest honors, the Southern University Law Center Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2013, he received the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce’s Calvin Wilkerson Community Service Award. The Ruston–‐Lincoln Chamber of Commerce presented Belton with the Hospitality Award for the Eddie G. Robinson Museum in 2011. Belton also received the Ruston Peach Tourism Service Award, the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association Award for Commitment & Contributions, and the Ruston Jaycees’ Outstanding and Unselfish Service Award.

Belton and his wife, Alana (a former prosecutor) have been married for 23 years. They have served as a Christian marriage counselor team as part of their spiritual ministry. They are the parents of two children, Alexis (20) and Jon Randall (16). They share a strong commitment to their faith, family and service to the community.

For more information call 318-680-6904.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 324 other followers