OPELOUSAS — Just minutes after she was elected president of the St. Landry Parish School Board, Josie Frank challenged board members to spend time each month volunteering to help educate students in the district’s schools.
Frank said she plans to spend at least five hours each month in various schools and encouraged other board members to “go the extra mile” in assisting at campuses of their choice.
Parents of students and others in the parish could help with student enrichment by allotting 20 minutes every day to reading to children, helping them with their homework and other activities, Frank said.
“As school board members, we are accountable for everything that goes on in the schools and that includes safety and education,” Frank said.
Frank, a Eunice attorney who served as board vice president in 2012, was chosen unanimously for president.
Anthony Standberry defeated outgoing president Harry Fruge for the vice president position.
Standberry received votes from himself, Charles Ross, Raymond Cassimere, Huey Wyble, Stephen Woods, Candace Gerace, Randy Wagley, Frank and even from Fruge, who drew a rift of laughter when he voted for Standberry after refusing to vote for himself.
Voting for Fruge were Donnie Perron, Roger Young and Milton Ambres.
Before he turned the meeting over to Frank, Fruge said he accomplished all of the goals that he set last year when he was elected president.
Among those goals, Fruge said, were selecting a school superintendent, better cooperation among board members, continuing to maintain what he called “the status quo financially,” improving communication among the board members and soliciting the support of area legislators.
In another matter, the board unanimously agreed for the district to become a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the St. John The Baptist Parish board against the state over the per-pupil Minimum Foundation Program funding formula.
Board attorney Gerard Caswell told the board that a 2011-12 MFP funding schedule approved by the state legislature included what he called a 2.75 percent growth factor in addition to what is normally funded annually.
Although the MFP growth factor funding was approved, the 2.75 percent was not funded by the state in the 2012-13 budget.
In an interview, district Finance Director Tressa Miller said St. Landry would receive at least $1.25 million if the plaintiffs prevail in the lawsuit.
Caswell said that the resolution also calls for each district to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys a 10 percent contingency fee for their representation, based on the amount that is recovered from the state.