Lafayette schools improvement panel to meet in March

A 45-member committee tapped to examine funding needs and sources for the Lafayette Parish school district’s educational and facility plans will start its work sometime in early March, Superintendent Pat Cooper said Thursday.

The community education plan committee’s role is to integrate the district’s facility needs with its educational turnaround plan, examine funding needs for the turnaround and facilities plans, and propose a way to fund it all.

Cooper said he would like the committee to make its recommendations to the School Board by early June to place any proposed tax plan on the fall ballot.

The committee already has one funding strategy to consider.

In January, Cooper pitched 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 facilities improvements.

The committee includes teachers, parents, other residents and business groups.

The School Board approved the committee member appointments at its meeting Feb. 6 in a 7-2 vote amid questions of whether committee members would be barred from doing any facilities work prompted by the recommendations.

Board member Tommy Angelle requested the board receive an opinion from the state ethics agency before moving forward.

“My concern is the potential ethics violation of a committee member,” he said last week.

Angelle said his vote did not reflect his opposition to the committee or its members, but his stance that the board wait for an ethics opinion.

Cooper said Thursday a committee member requested an opinion, but the committee won’t wait to start its work.

“We’re thinking we can get this done in three months because we have so much of the information together,” Cooper said.

Committee members to represent Broussard and Duson have not been announced, but the other committee members are:

Linda Armstrong, Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women; Bobby Badon, principal of Edgar Martin Middle School; Zach Barker, chairman of The 705; Adrian Baudoin, parent and member of Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation; Caroll Baudoin, chairman of Concerned Citizens for Good Government; Rebecca Bernhard, Community Foundation of Acadiana; Heather Blanchard, a parent; Elroy Broussard, volunteer; Gina Cahee, principal of Green T. Lindon Elementary; Jerri Caillier, volunteer.

Also, Gerald Carlson, dean of University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Education; Kathleen Espinoza, League of Women Voters; Cade Evans, Lafayette Education Foundation; David Fisher, business owner and parent; Cathie Gilbert, planner with Lafayette Consolidated Government; Rudy Gonzales, vice chancellor of South Louisiana Community College; Lynn Guidry, architect representing Carencro; Jeremy Hidalgo, volunteer representing Youngsville; Leshia Hoffman, Teacher Advisory Committee representative; Virginia Jones, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce; Marlene King, parent.

Also, 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, ULL architecture professor; Mike LeBlanc, Mike LeBlanc Architects; Mike LeBlanc, Lafayette city-parish planning manager; Lendon Lewis, business owner and representative of 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette; Joyce Linde, Tea Party of Lafayette; Pat Logan, comprehensive plan facilitator for Scott; Eric Luquette, Teacher Advisory Committee representative.

Also, 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; Nathan Norris, CEO of the Lafayette Downtown Development Authority; Kirby Pecot, Pecot and Company Architects; Terry Richard, teacher; Nathan Roberts, ULL educational leadership professor; Debbie Soileau, Teacher Advisory Committee representative.

Also, Stella Theriot, executive director of Junior Achievement of Acadiana; James Thomas, SLCC student; Nancy Trahan, parent and Chamber of Commerce member; Margaret Trahan, president and CEO of United Way of Acadiana; and Sarah Walker, a parent.