Avants chosen for vacant Zachary school board seat

The Zachary Community School Board named legal secretary Dawn Annison Avants Thursday to fill the unexpired term of board member Donnie Dykes, who moved out of his district and resigned effective Wednesday.

Avants said she is considering seeking a four-year term from District 8 in the fall elections, when voters will fill all nine seats on the board. The primary election is Nov. 4, and runoff elections, if needed, will be held on Dec. 6.

Avants is the mother of three children, and she and her husband, Matt, are owners of a Zachary auto body shop and manage a local cemetery.

In keeping with its tradition of having board officers serve one-year terms, the board also voted to elevate Vice President David Dayton to president, succeeding Gaynell Young. Scott Swilley will succeed Dayton as vice president.

Board members also decided to change their meeting dates from the second and fourth Thursdays of the month to the first and third Tuesdays, beginning with a meeting Feb. 4. Only one meeting will be held in March, November and December.

In other business, the board voted to move $1.35 million from surplus fund to the general fund to buy approximately 1,300 computers for students to use in taking new state-mandated accountability tests and to upgrade the district’s career and college readiness programs.

The board now has $20 million surplus funds, Finance Director Gordon Robertson said.

The board also voted to raise the monthly tuition for pre-kindergarten students from $400 to $450 per month, as recommended by the board’s finance committee. The price applies to students who do not qualify for state aid for pre-kindergarten classes.

Robertson said the increase will raise about $50,000, based on this year’s enrollment, and Human Resources Director Yolanda Williams said the money will help the district meet state pupil-teacher ratio requirements.