ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish School Board members clashed over personnel issues at their meeting Tuesday.
Board members Milton Coates and James White objected to advertising for a curriculum specialist and an instructional coach to assist with the implementation of the new teaching standards beginning in fall.
Common Core State Standards, or CCSS, will replace the current Leap and iLeap tests for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in Louisiana.
LEAP stands for Louisiana Educational Assessment Program.
Board member Sara Wilson-Rogers asked whether current employees could be used to fill the positions.
“Some districts might already have more support staff or curriculum specialists,” Superintendent Hollis Milton said. “Our teachers will be required to not only implement a new curriculum, but they will be evaluated on an entirely new rubric. I believe that if we are going to be successful, this is the way we need to go.”
The remainder of the personnel changes were approved, with board members Kevin Beauchamp, David Cornette, Kelly O’Brien, White, and Wilson-Rogers voting in favor. Board members Amanda McKinney and Coates abstained due to conflicts of interest. Relatives of McKinney and Coates were on the list of affected personnel.
Coates said that the school system should make more of an effort to hire applicants reflecting the demographics of the parish. “If we have minority applicants, we need to take that seriously,” he said.
“We need to do some more networking,” Milton said. “I believe that this will improve over time, but we can’t do it overnight.”
The board also voted 5-1 to ratify an advertisement to fill the position of insurance accountant. Board members Beauchamp, Cornette, McKinney, O’Brien, White and Wilson-Rogers voted for the measure. Coates cast the dissenting vote.
Other items before the board included:
TAX ELECTION: The board voted unanimously to approve the canvass of returns for the April 21 special tax election.
Milton said that the new half-cent sales tax would allow the district to lift the salary freeze currently in place. The funds will also allow “a seamless transition to CCSS,” he said.
He added that the passage of the 3.75-mill property tax meant that the district would not have to make cuts to employees’ salaries. The proposed pay reductions would have amounted to $3,000 a year for certified teachers and $2,000 for other staff members.