Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

It’s for the Children, Isn’t it?

01/21/2016

More taxes, of every sort, local and state. Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker wants to raise sales taxes to pay mostly for a new recreation complex on South Farmerville. Our new Governor Edwards says you all have to sacrifice more for sales and income taxes to pay for the tens of thousands of state employees, their retirement, and their medical benefits.

But is the money now going to government efficiently used?

We decided to take a close look at what the costs are to educate children in Lincoln Parish Schools, compared to the cost of educating children at one of the premier private schools in North Louisiana, Cedar Creek.

According to the latest audit for Lincoln School District, the 2014 cost per pupil is $13,603, almost double the cost of 2005. Notice also that there were 20 fewer teachers in 2014 than in 2005.

See here the document.

See here the complete audit.

Compare those costs with the tuition costs at Cedar Creek of $6,290/yr or $6,570/yr, depending on grade level. Additional costs are a $650/yr student fee for books and supplies.

See here the document.

So where does the money go? It’s for the children, isn’t it?

RHS Swim Team Recognized @ Lincoln Parish School Board

01/05/2016
Front L/R - Nathan Hegab, Jackson Boersma, Head Coach Paulette Butterfield, Blake Rhymes, Ethan Brady, Noah Ruff, Cameron Roberts, Assistant Coach Lacy Waskom Back - Joseph Ham, Robert Kyle, Drew Campbell, John Higgenbotham, Ethan Purifoy

Front L/R – Nathan Hegab, Jackson Boersma, Head Coach Paulette Butterfield, Blake Rhymes, Ethan Brady, Noah Ruff, Cameron Roberts, Assistant Coach Lacy Waskom
Back – Joseph Ham, Robert Kyle, Drew Campbell, John Higgenbotham, Ethan Purifoy, (not shown, Michael Bishop)

It was an overflow crowd at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB). The room was filled with members of the Ruston High School (RHS) Swim Team and their families. The team most recently captured the Overall Team Title at the Division II High School Swimming Championship last November 22 in Sulphur.

See here the write-up in Swimming World Magazine.

Former Ruston Junior High School Principal Tim Nutt noted that the team had won four consecutive state championships.

RHS Principal Ricky Durrett said, “When you mention Ruston Swimming, everybody listens. They are respected all over the state.” He added, “These young men are all excellent students. They not only put the time in the pool, they put the time in the classroom.”

The crowd got to see some history of a sort, in that the board for the first time in eleven years elected a new President.

Joe Mitcham (District 6), who had formerly served as Vice-President, was unanimously elected President. Also elected unanimously was new Vice-President Lynda Henderson (District 9).

Outgoing President Otha Anders (District 10) distributed a prepared statement to the board.

Wrote Anders, “As now Past President, I thank everyone for the trust given me to have led in a humble and respectful manner during this exceptional period of time in our educational history.”

Accountability Coordinator Donna Doss reported good news for School Performance Scores for the year.

District-wide, scores improved to 95.5 from 94.3. The district ranks third in North Louisiana, and number 17 statewide.

Two schools, Ruston High and Choudrant High, are “A” ranked schools.

See here the memo.

Business Manager George Murphy reported that sales tax collections for December, 2015 were about 11 1/2% greater than the same period last year.

See here the report.

Million Dollar Pep Squad Building @ RHS to Bid

01/03/2016

A “spirit building” for the Ruston High School (RHS) cheerleaders, pep squad, and other similar groups to use in training will be let for bid at the Monday, 1/4, meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB). Also, a freshman locker room addition for the field house is set to bid.

See here the memo.

According to earlier capital expenditure budgets, the spirit building is expected to cost about $930 thousand, and the locker room addition is budgeted at $1 million.

The meeting is set for 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

LPSB Construction Projects Proceeding as Planned

12/02/2015

Several Lincoln Parish school construction projects are proceeding mostly as planned, Construction Manager James Payton told last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).

He said that repairs to the new Choudrant High School track were underway. With the recent wet weather, some settling had occurred under culverts.

Said Payton, “Repairs have been made to the four areas where the track was breached. The asphalt has not been put back yet,” he added.

Architect Mike Walpole reported that the baseball complex at Ruston Junior High was almost complete.

Business manager George Murphy reported that November sales taxes were down about $300 thousand compared to the same month last year, but that year to date, collections were $2.7 million more than last year.

See here the document.

Murphy said that changes to the health care plan would begin January 1, and should help the plan’s deficit.

Superintendent Mike Milstead reported that he had instituted a monthly leadership training meeting with principals, and were doing a book study on “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make.” He said similar training sessions with new teachers and aspiring principals were also underway.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

11/30/2015

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

Here is the agenda.

Durrett Aces RHS Performance Scores

11/06/2015

RHS Principal Ricky Durrett

In his first year as Ruston High School (RHS) Principal, Ricky Durrett has moved the school up 8 points (92.1 to 100.3) in School Performance Scores, from a “B” to an “A.” He was recognized at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), and rewarded with a cash incentive for his accomplishment.

Durrett thanked the board for the opportunity to lead RHS, and former Principal Mike Milstead’s groundwork.

Said Durrett, “I want to say thanks to Mr. Milstead for the things he got started there, and we’ve continued today. A big part of that is the students we have and the parents we have that support the school and support the things we’re doing there.”

Durrett noted that he thought the school still had room to grow further.

Chief Academic Officer Lisa Bastion read several testimonials from RHS teachers and staff praising Durrett. Among them:

Kay White, RHS Registrar, “He keeps the students at the forefront of every decision he makes. He is a listener and a problem solver.”

Brad Laird, RHS Football Coach, “The bottom line with Ricky Durrett is he cares about kids. He wants the best for the students academically, athletically, and socially.”

The board also heard from Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton, who reported on a mentoring program for area students. The program would allow parents of truant students avoid prosecution as long as they are enrolled in the program.

See here the program details.

The board unanimously approved a 50% pay raise for members, from $400/month to $600/month. Notable in the discussion were the board members and staffers who went to great lengths to justify the raises, saying that their current pay was the lowest in the region.

See here the memo and comparisons.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

11/02/2015

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, November 3, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Parish School Board Wednesday

10/19/2015

Twice yearly, the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) holds a mid-day meeting in an area school, in a addition to the regular first Tuesday monthly meeting. The Wednesday (10/20) meeting will be held at the Dubach School, 7710 Fellowship Rd., Dubach, 12:30 PM.

Here is the agenda.

Pay Raise for Lincoln Parish School Board Members

10/05/2015

A fifty percent ($400/month to $600/month) increase in the expense allowance for Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) members is on the agenda for the Tuesday, October 6 meeting of the board. The president receives an additional $100/month. Final action on the matter will be at the 10/21 meeting.

See here the memo.

Preceding the 6 PM meeting of the full board, the Building and Grounds Committee will meet at 5:30 PM.

See here the agendas.

Among the reports to be heard will be personnel actions.

See here the list.

Area School Residency Requirements Not Equally Enforced

09/28/2015

While Jackson Parish Schools students must go to school in the district where their parents or guardians reside, it appears that at least one West Monroe HS student’s high profile parents don’t have to follow the law.

See here U. S. District Judge Robert James’ order that directs Jackson Parish students to attend schools in their attendance zones.

Order of Modification

From the document:

Address Verification

a. All students. In addition to completing the Residency Form, students seeking to enroll or to continue enrollment in the District schools for school year 2015-2016, or for the first time at any time thereafter, must provide at least two (2) of the items listed below as verification of the student’s address. The submitted documents must show the location by street address of the residence of the parent, legal guardian, foster care parent, or non-parents (as applicable) where the child maintains his or her primary residence.
• Current valid driver’s license or state ID showing a residential street address (not a post office box)
• Current property tax records
• Current mortgage documents or property deed
• In cases of apartment or home lease, a notarized statement from the property owner/lessor identifying himself/herself as the property owner/lessor, describing the property, and the term of the lease, identifying the lease-holder
• Current rent payment receipt or copy of money order made for payment of rent showing residence address
• Current valid automobile registration showing residence address
• Current telephone or utility bill showing residence address
• Current voter identification card showing residence address
• Notarized affidavit verifying residence (street) address

However, Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton claims a Lincoln Parish address as his primary residence, but his son John Randall attends West Monroe HS. Both Belton and his wife Alana are registered Lincoln Parish voters.

See here from the LA Secretary of State website:

John F. K. Belton
Alana Gilbert Belton

Belton’s latest financial disclosure statement lists his address as 138 Griffin Road, Ruston. The Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor website confirms property at that location belonging to John and Alana Belton, and that is homestead exempt. See here the documents:

Financial Disclosure (2015)
Lincoln Parish Tax Records (2015)

According to Louisiana’s Election Law, LA RS RS 18:101:

B. For purposes of the laws governing voter registration and voting, “resident” means a citizen who resides in this state and in the parish, municipality, if any, and precinct in which he offers to register and vote, with an intention to reside there indefinitely. If a citizen resides at more than one place in the state with an intention to reside there indefinitely, he may register and vote only at one of the places at which he resides. If a person claims a homestead exemption, pursuant to Article VII, Section 20 of the Constitution of Louisiana, on one of the residences, he shall register and vote in the precinct in which that residence is located, except that a person who resides in a nursing home as defined in R.S. 40:2009.2 or in a veterans’ home operated by the state or federal government may register and vote at the address where the nursing home or veterans’ home is located. For purposes of voter registration and voting, the residence of a married woman shall be determined in the same manner as is required for any other citizen. A citizen of this state shall not be or remain registered or vote in more than one place of residence at any one time.

Lincoln Parish School’s Student Assignment Policy says this:

VERIFICATION OF RESIDENCE

The School Board shall require verification of residence of those students whose residence is suspected to be outside the attendance zone of the school the student is attending. When investigating the residence of a student, the School Board shall attempt to verify the primary place of residence of the legal parent or legal guardian. Such verification of residence shall be based on such items as the following:

1. Voter registration card of parent or guardian, or
2. Property tax statement of parent or guardian showing homestead exemption, or
3. Certified copy of any judicially ordered tutorship, custody or guardianship of any minor child student not domiciled or in the custody of their natural and/or legal parents. Verification of the physical residency of the legal custodian, tutor/tutrix or non-parent shall also be required, or
4. Any other documentation as may be stipulated by the Board.

Apparently Belton uses a West Monroe address for purposes of school attendance. See here the document:

115 Creole Lane, West Monroe, LA 71291

Ouachita Parish Schools Student Assignment Policy says this:

Each student shall have only one residence (domicile) which is determined to be the place where he/she predominantly sleeps, takes meals, and maintains personal belongings. To establish domicile in the Ouachita Parish School District, a parent or legal custodian must present sufficient information which supports both that the parent, legal custodian, or caregiver is actually domiciled within the Ouachita Parish School Board jurisdictional school boundaries, and confirm that the child under his or her care, custody and/or control is actually domiciled with that parent or legal custodian.

See here the document.


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