BY HEIDI KINCHEN
Florida Parishes bureau
September 28, 2012
PINE GROVE — St. Helena Parish is poised for growth, and the first step in that direction is community support for the schools, a state education official said Thursday.
“Schools are the foundation of a community. When you have good schools, there is pride in the community,” said Warren Drake, former superintendent of Zachary Community School District.
Drake visited the St. Helena School Board on Thursday to discuss his new role as a regional network leader with the Louisiana Department of Education, overseeing 20 school districts including St. Helena, the Felicianas, Central, Baker, Zachary and West Baton Rouge.
He also took a few minutes to address the board’s tax propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The School Board is asking voters to approve a 10-year, 16.4-mill property tax for employee pay raises and an $8 million bond issued backed by a 40-year, 9.4-mill property tax for extensive renovations to the elementary and high schools.
“When you make your facilities better, when you invest in small raises for your teachers, things begin to happen,” Drake said. “There is pride in the community.”
The School Board met Thursday at the Apostolic Assembly of Christ Church on La. 16 west of Pine Grove, as part of a parishwide tour to explain the tax proposals to voters.
Other business before the School Board included:
ACCREDITATION: An external review team with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a division of the nonprofit Advance Education corporation, will be in St. Helena Parish to evaluate the district for possible accreditation Oct. 22-24.
“Right now, there are 19 schools in the state that are district accredited,” Superintendent Kelli Joseph said. “St. Helena will become the 20th.”
SACS accreditation indicates a district uses best practices in education, Joseph said.
The external review team will discuss the group’s findings during a public meeting at 2 p.m. Oct. 24 in the St. Helena Central High School gymnasium.
NEW PRINCIPAL: Eric Richard was introduced as the new principal for St. Helena Central Middle School, run by the state Recovery School District.
Richard is a New Orleans native with 30 years’ experience in education, including more than 20 years at L.B. Landry High School in Algiers, where he served as a teacher then principal.