School nominees named in Lafayette

A group of community members, parents and teachers will soon begin work to integrate the school district’s facility needs with its educational turnaround plan.

A list of nominees to serve on the “community education plan committee” will be considered by the School Board at its 5:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday. The committee’s charge is to help the district match educational priorities and related recommendations in the district’s six-year turnaround plan with facility needs.

The turnaround plan is Superintendent Pat Cooper’s strategy to take the district from being a “C” rated district under the state’s school performance grading system to an “A” rated district in six years.

The group will also have the task of recommending a way to fund the improvements.

Earlier this month, Cooper proposed a funding solution for both plans: a 10-year, 15-mill property tax for the educational turnaround plan and a temporary one-cent sales tax for up to six years dedicated to facility improvements. He recommended that the proposal go to voters in November.

In a resolution presented to the board at its Jan. 9 meeting, Cooper estimated that it would cost about $26 million a year to implement and maintain the turnaround plan recommendations and the temporary one-cent sales tax could generate about $50 million annually to fund a $300 million facilities plan.

In October 2011, voters rejected the board’s last tax proposal: a 23-mill property tax increase that would have generated about $561 million for the first phase of the district’s facilities master plan needs. The property tax increase was proposed by an advisory committee.

The list of nominees for the new committee represent community and business groups, parents and teachers. Among the nominees, are representatives of 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette and the Tea Party of Lafayette, two groups vocal in their opposition to the 2011 property tax proposal.

In April 2011, members of the 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette urged the board to wait until a new superintendent was selected and the district had an educational plan that targeted the district’s low graduation rates before asking the public to support a tax increase.

The Tea Party of Lafayette was also a vocal opponent of the 2011 property tax with some of its members citing financial mismanagement of existing funds as the reason for the district’s overwhelming facility needs.

School district staff, who proposed the list of nominees for the committee, are still looking for five people from three areas to serve on the committee: two teachers; another Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce representative; and a representative of the Lafayette Education Foundation.

The board is also set to make a decision Wednesday on a “safe school package,” which includes additional personnel for high school campuses. To view the full agenda, go to: http://esb.lpssonline.com.

The list of nominees for the committee are:

Linda Armstrong, a representative of the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women; Bobby Badon, principal of Edgar Martin Middle School; Adrian Baudoin, parent and member of Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation; Caroll Baudoin, chairman of the Concerned Citizens for Good Government; Rebecca Bernhard, a representative of the Community Foundation of Acadiana; Heather Blanchard, a parent; Gina Cahee, principal of Green T. Lindon Elementary; Greg Davis, director of the Cajundome; Cathie Gilbert, planner with Lafayette Consolidated Government; Rudy Gonzales, vice chancellor of South Louisiana Community College; Virginia Jones, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce; Jenny Krueger, executive director of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra; Donna Landry, vice president of strategic development for Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center; Hector Lasala, University of Louisiana at Lafayette architecture professor; Mike LeBlanc, of Mike LeBlanc Architects; Lendon Lewis, business owner and representative of 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette; Joyce Linde, of the Tea Party of Lafayette; Gary McGoffin, attorney; John Milton parent and representative of the State of Greater Black Lafayette, Mandi Mitchell, Louisiana Economic Development government affairs director; Julio Naudin, community liaison with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office; Kirby Pecot, of Pecot and Company Architects; Nathan Roberts, UL Lafayette educational leadership professor; Stella Theriot, executive director of Junior Achievement of Acadiana; Margaret Trahan, president and CEO of United Way of Acadiana; Sarah Walker, a parent.