Ville Platte — The Evangeline Parish School Board agreed Wednesday to reimburse board member Arthur Savoy $4,630 for legal expenses he incurred about six years ago when he ran afoul of a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon, who was overseeing the school district’s desegregation case, ruled in 2006 that Savoy was in contempt of court for trying to influence the hiring of a school system bookkeeper.
Savoy said he spent three days in jail and has paid $11,000 in fines and legal expenses.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics cleared him of any wrongdoing and told the School Board that it could reimburse Savoy’s legal expenses, Savoy said.
“I can’t see spending money on reimbursing a board member when we need the money on so many other things right now,” board member Georgianna Wilson said.
Other board members supported Savoy.
“Why should he have to pay legal fees after being found innocent by the Board of Ethics,” board Vice President Jerry Thompson said. “It is not fair for him to shoulder the costs.”
The vote was 8-3 in favor of giving Savoy the money. Board members Peggy Forman, Nancy Hamlin and Georgianna Wilson voted against the measure.
In other business, the School Board:
REFINANCED: The board adopted a resolution to refinance $2.2 million in school improvement refunding bonds. The bonds are being used for the Ville Platte High School renovation project. Business manager Amy Lafleur said the refinancing will mean a net savings of $139,097.
RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS: Also, LaFleur said the School Board will pay an additional $784,613 in employee retirement contributions next year.
CAREER DAY: Superintendent Toni Hamlin announced Career Day for high school juniors and seniors was successful. There were 28 booths, including military branches, colleges, technical schools and financial advisers.
REAPPORTIONMENT: Demographer Mike Heffner reviewed a revised reapportionment plan with the 13 board members. He is scheduled to meet individually with board members Wanda Skinner, Ellis Guillory and Wilson before the next meeting to review minority population levels in their districts.