Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

School Board meets tomorrow


The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, June 6, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville.

Here is the agenda.

Ruston School District bond issue soundly defeated; Simsboro plan passes


With all of the precincts reporting for the Ruston School District No. 1, it appears the proposal to consolidate the district’s four elementary schools into two, and to sell $75 million of bonds to pay for new construction, was defeated by a margin of better than two to one, 70% no to 30% yes. Turnout was about 14%.

A proposal for new construction in Simsboro School District No. 3 passed by a 53/47 margin. That proposal will add an additional 5.75 mils to existing property tax bills.


Groups opposed to school plan meet to plot election strategy


Area groups that are opposed to the plan by the Lincoln Parish School District to close two schools and borrow $75 million for new construction met yesterday evening at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Ruston. About 50 people, including several local elected officials met to discuss voter outreach strategy for the upcoming April 29 election.

Among those attending were school board members David Ferguson, George Mack, Jr, and Danielle Williams. Police juror Sharyon Mayfield and Ruston City Council member Angela Mayfield.

Coalition Against School Closures Co-Chair Liz White recapped the events of the past two months, including the past three school board meetings where the issue was discussed.

Said White, “The way I see it, it’s asking us to pay to close our schools.”

She noted how the group got its start, after the February 7 school board vote to move forward on the plan.

Several attendees noted that taxes have become a burden, especially for the elderly. It was noted that even if you rent and own no property, you still pay property taxes, as the owner has to pass that cost along.

Mail-in ballots for the election have already been sent out, and early voting will be April 15-22, excluding Sunday, April 16. Early voting in person will be at the Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters, Lincoln Parish Court House ground floor, 100 West Texas.

Several local pastors were in the audience, and were recognized.

The next meeting of the coalition will be Monday, April 17, 6:00, Lincoln Parish Library, 910 North Trenton.

More School Board reporting


The Lincoln Parish School Board did manage to conduct some business at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Two new principals were recognized, Chris Jones for Choudrant High School and Lacey Holcomb for Simsboro School.

Jones had most recently been Assistant Principal at Choudrant for the past eight years. Holcomb has been the Simsboro Interim Principal for the past year.

The board approved payment of the May salary supplement checks for school personnel, often called the “14 check.” Authorized was $6,112 for personnel with teaching certificates and $3,056 for those not certified. It was noted that sales taxes in the district had increased over the past year.

Superintendent Ricky Durrett said, “These are both increases of about $848 for certified people from last year, and $425 for support staff.”

Asked how much an increase that was from last year, Business Manager Juanita Duke said it was about 17% increase over the payment for last year.

Here’s the memo.

According to the monthly sales tax report, for the first nine months of the tax year, the district has collected just over $1 million more than the same period last year, or about a 5.3% increase.

Personnel Director Doris Lewis presented the monthly personnel report.

School Board still split on tax, consolidation

Liz White, Terence Flucas – Coalition Against School Closures

Emotions are still high on the Lincoln Parish School Board – as high as we ever seen in our 14 years of coverage – regarding a plan to close two schools and renovate several others to accommodate the relocated students, and a $75 million tax levy to pay for it all.

At last night’s meeting, even the most routine of matters – ratification of the minutes of a previous meeting – was a split vote.

District 2’s David Ferguson objected to the minutes as printed, saying “I’ve been in theses meetings, and what I say has not been printed. I want make a record that what I say goes on record in these minutes. People call me and ask me that nothing you say is being printed to see. Everything printed is hunky-dory like everything is apple pie, and its not. I want it to be known of my opposition, and I want it printed.”

Ferguson and District 1’s Danielle Williams also objected to how school policies were formulated, saying those should originate with the board, rather than administrators. Disciplinary reports need to be reported back to the board, the two said.

Coalition Against School Closures Co-Chair Terrence Flucas addressed the board and expressed the group’s opposition.

Said Flucas, “We are here today for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is hoping that this board will reconsider their decision to consolidate four elementary schools into two enhanced schools on the north side of Interstate 20. We believe that closing two schools on the south side of I-20 will be a detriment to our community.” He added, “In the best interests of this school system, we believe this is a decision that should have been made with input from the community.”

Co-chair Liz White read from a resolution presented to the board members.

Williams asked had a traffic study been done, to which District Superintendent Ricky Durrett said that they had reviewed bus and auto traffic, but no comprehensive study.

Jackie Sumler said that children are on the bus at 6:00 AM in the morning, and wondered if they were ready to learn when they arrived at school.

Jerry Baldwin said, “It won’t do any harm to reconsider” the vote to hold the tax election

Several more speakers were heard from before a the motion was made to amend the agenda.

Assistant District Attorney Lewis, the boards legal advisor, cautioned that such a motion to be successful had to be unanimous, and that it was problematic to change the agenda this late in a meeting.

As we reported last night, the vote failed, and as of now, the tax election is still scheduled for Saturday, April 29.

School Tax election still on


A move at tonight’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board to postpone a tax election set for April 29 was defeated because the vote to amend the agenda and allow a vote to postpone had to be unanimous. That said, a majority of the board actually did vote to amend, eight yes, and four no.

Voting to amend: Henderson, Mack, Anders, Doss, Williams, Ferguson, Canterbury, and Phillips.

Voting no: Smith, Hancock, Abrahm, Micham.

We will have further reporting tomorrow.

School Board meets tonight


The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday, April 4), 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville St.

Here’s the agenda.

School Tax voter demographics


The April 29 property tax election districts are unique in their makeup, as they reflect school attendance zones and have no relation to other political boundaries of Lincoln Parish – municipal, school board/police jury districts, fire districts, etc. They also have their own set of voter demographics which can sometimes predict voting patterns.

Ruston School District No. 1 will vote on the re-imposition of an expiring 20 year, 17.75 mil property tax to pay for $65 million of borrowing for new construction in the district.

The Simsboro School District No. 3 will vote on the re-imposition of an expiring 20 year, 5.55 mil property tax, plus 5.75 mils of new taxes to pay for $10 million of debt for that district’s new construction.

The new construction projects are detailed in our 2/8/2023 news story


School consolidation still a sore subject


Toward the end of last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board, remarks by David Ferguson (District 2) revealed that feelings among the board are still tender regarding the proposed tax vote and school consolidation plan approved at last month’s board meeting.

Said Ferguson, “Have we ever combined evidence or criteria to support the decision to combine these schools? We can’t go into something blind. I would like to see where it would really work.”

He continued, “In combing these schools, have we developed a plan or purpose for student assignments at these new schools? Like where are they going to come from, what school are we going to take them from?”

District Superintendent Rick Durrett said that the school district boundaries would remain as they are now.

Ferguson also asked for a copy of a federal court consent decree that granted “unitary status” to the district several years ago. He said no one on the board had seen that decree.

In fact, just last year, US District Court Judge Robert James signed an order that ended federal supervision of the system.

See here the document.

Earlier in the meeting, Allen Green & Williamson’s Amy Tynes reported on the district’s financial audit for 7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022.

She said the opinion was unmodified, which means financial statements are presented, in all material respects, in accordance with applicable financial reporting standards.

See here the complete audit.

The board adopted a resolution designating April 24-28 as Support Personnel Week.

See here the resolution.

The personnel report was also presented.

School Board meets Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, March 7, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.