Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

Schools Reopen Tomorrow


School Superintendent Interviews to be Secret


Interviews for the Lincoln School District Superintendent may be done in executive session, after a key phrase was stripped from language approved last month by a committee of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).

At last night’s meeting, On a motion by David Gullatt (District 3), item 6 on page 3 of the memo was modified to read:

The interviews of selected candidates will be conducted by the full Board during the period of October 19-21, 2020, and succeeding days if needed at a time to be determined. Following such initial interviews, the Board may vote either to hire a superintendent or select finalists for 2nd interviews.

Taken out was this phrase, “in Open Session on the advice of Board attorney, Jon Guice,”

The motion was seconded by Hunter Smith (District 7), and unanimously approved.

The action comes after several months of controversy at the Lincoln Parish Police Jury over its selection of a Parish Administrator.

Last June, it was alleged that the jury held an executive session in which an illegal vote was taken.

In other business, the board adopted the 2020-2021 budget, which projects revenues of $82.3 million and expenditures of $78.7 million.

See here the budget summary.

Twenty seven positions were eliminated district wide from last year, to include 22 certificated employees, and 5 non-certificated.

About 80% of the district’s expenditures are for personnel and benefits.

School Board Meets Tonight


The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday, September 1) at the Lincoln Parish STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road, next door to Ruston Junior High.

Here is the agenda.

The Finance Committee will meet at 5:45 PM, with the full board to follow at 6:00 PM.

School Superintendent Hiring Procedure OK’d


A procedure and timeline for selecting the next Lincoln School District Superintendent was recommended for full board approval last Friday afternoon at a meeting of the Executive Search Committee.

Among the items discussed:

Application period – 9/3-9/28
Interviews – 10/19-10/26
Formal approval – 11/10
Proposed beginning salary – $120 thousand/year

See here the memo with proposed procedures.

Monroe attorney Jon Guice, who had recently been retained by the board to assist in the process, had several suggestions that were incorporated into the plan.

Said Guice, “You have to decide who want to interview. What if you have six applicants? You can say we’re going to interview three, we’re going to intervew all six – that’s purely a board decision.”

Asked what the board was legally required by state law, Guice said that the applicants had to be certified to be a superintendent, and that the position must be advertised. Beyond that, he said, the board could use any procedure it saw fit.

Superintendent Mike Milstead noted that the post office box to which the application should be mailed had been procured.

Applications must be postmarked no later than 9/28/20.

The full board will consider the recommendation at its 9/1/20 meeting.

School Superintendent Hiring Process Begins


A join committee of several school board members and outgoing Lincoln School District Superintendent Mike Milstead will meet this afternoon (Friday, August 21) to begin the process of selecting a new superintendent. Board members include Lynda Henderson, Joe Mitcham, Otha Anders, and Danny Hancock.

The meeting will be at the STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road, 2:00 PM.

Here is the agenda.

School 1/2¢ Tax Begins October 1, 2020


A new 1/2¢ parishwide sales tax will be collected from purchases made after October 1, 2020, after the Lincoln Parish School Board this morning ratified last Saturday’s election, and enacted an ordinance to make it law.

See here the ordinance.

Superintendent Mike Milstead said that the new tax would enable the district “to do a little better” toward the employees’ pay, and should make Lincoln teachers among the top 1/3 best paid in the state.

Eight of the twelve board members were present, and all voted for the resolution and ordinance in the 10 minute meeting.

Special Called School Board Meeting This Morning


Wasting no time to get its hands on taxpayer money, the Lincoln Parish School Board has called a special meeting for 10:00 AM this morning (Thursday, August 20) at the Lincoln Parish STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road.

On the agenda is a resolution declaring the results of last Saturday’s tax election, along with an ordinance that will authorize levying the tax.

See here the documents.

Tax Election Results


Refresher on School Resource Officers


In December, 2018, there was a push by the Lincoln Parish School Board to increase property taxes to fund “school resource officers.” We did some research on the subject and posted the following report:

Someone’s Not Being Truthful about Lincoln Parish School Resource Officers

There are questions regarding the Lincoln Parish School Resource Officers (SRO) Program that need to be answered prior to any vote for additional taxes.

Specifically, taxpayers need to know which of the district’s schools now have an SRO assigned to them, and what agency has ownership of the program.

Here’s what’s posted on the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s website:

School Resource Officer

Deputies in the Juvenile Division are certified as an SRO. Deputies are assigned a school that they work at to provide security and safety for the students, faculty and staff. The SRO’s work during the school day as well as school sponsored events. The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office currently has SRO’s assigned to all parish schools from Elementary to High School.

From Sheriff Mike Stone’s 4/8/15 re-election announcement:

“We’ve always been prudent and good stewards of the public’s money,” Stone said. “From putting School Resource Officers in our schools to adding an elderly protection officer and implementing the ‘How are You’ program to check on our seniors, we’ve been able to offer the services that help make Lincoln Parish a safe environment to live, work and raise families.”

In a 1/27/12 press release asking voters to approve a 1/4 cent sales tax increase, Stone said this:

“When we took office eight years ago, we promised several things,” Stone said. “More patrol and visibility on the street, adding an additional investigator, strengthening our drug interdiction (LPNET) and elderly protection (TRIAD) programs, putting an SRO officer in every school, improving litter abatement and animal control, and adding special patrol deputies (SCAT and CAP).”

“We feel we’ve delivered on our promises and have been good stewards of the public’s money, and we ask for your trust that we will continue to do so.”

It is clear that Stone has claimed ownership of the School Resource Officer program ever since he’s been in office. Nothing has ever been said by the Sheriff’s Office that indicates the school district should pay for the program.

But at last week’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board, District Superintendent Mike Milstead said that only half the district’s schools had SROs assigned to them, and that the additional officers would have to be paid for by a new property tax.

Said Milstead, “One of the main components, and the original main thrust of this was for the safety of our children. Every one of our schools should have a School Resource Officer. Right now, thanks to the generosity of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department and a grant they have, seven of the schools have full-time School Resource Officers. But that means seven do not. We as a district need to everything we can to make it possible for our kids to have a safe learning environment.”

Clearly, Milstead is claiming that the primary need for new taxes is based on the safety of schoolchildren.

So which is it?

Do all Lincoln Parish Schools have SROs, or not? Or has Stone not fulfilled his promises to protect “all parish schools from Elementary to High School?”

And, if the cost of the SRO program must now be borne by the school district, when did that shift occur? Stone indicated in 2012 that part of the reason for a new tax was to help pay for the SRO program.

Or is the children safety issue being used to frighten taxpayers into supporting another tax increase, while most of the money goes elsewhere?

What Lincoln Parish Voters will be Deciding Saturday


PW School Board – New 1/2% Sales & Use Tax

Shall the Parish School Board of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana (the “School Board”), be authorized to levy and collect a tax of one-half of one percent (1/2%) (the “Tax”), in perpetuity, commencing July 1, 2020, upon the sale at retail, the use, the lease or rental, the consumption, and the storage for use or consumption of tangible personal property and on sales of services in the Parish of Lincoln (the “Parish”), all as provided by law (an estimated $4,600,000 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for an entire year), with the proceeds of the Tax (after paying the reasonable and necessary costs and expenses of collecting and administering the Tax), to be dedicated and used for the purpose of giving additional support to the public elementary and secondary schools in the Parish, including, but not limited to: (i) providing enhanced security at all public schools and facilities in the system, including a school resource officer (SRO) at each school, which SRO shall be a commissioned law enforcement officer and (ii) salaries and benefits of teachers and other public school employees?

Fire Protection District No. 1 – $72.00 Service Charge Renewal – 10 Yrs. (for voters outside the corporate limits of Ruston, Grambling and Choudrant)

Shall Fire Protection District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana (the “District”), assess and collect an annual service charge of Seventy-Two Dollars ($72.00) from persons owning residential or commercial structures, whether occupied or unoccupied, located wholly or partly within the boundaries of the District, for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2021 and ending with the year 2030 (an estimated $600,000 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the service charge for an entire year), both years inclusive, for the purpose of paying the costs of fire protection services and emergency services in and for the District, including the cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining equipment and facilities necessary for such services, and, for purposes of assessing and collecting said service charge, owners shall be assessed a service charge for each such structure which they own, each residential or commercial unit in a structure shall be considered a separate structure and a mobile home, as defined in R.S. 9:1149.2(3), shall be considered a structure, all as provided in R.S. 40:1502.1?