Livingston School Board addressing budget, security issues

— The Livingston Parish School Board plans to discuss at its March 19 Budget and Goals Committee meeting the district’s budget and how many school resource officers the system can afford.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard on Feb. 21 presented the School Board with a proposal for providing four additional sheriff’s deputies to patrol the district’s schools.

The new school resource officers — commissioned law enforcement officers assigned to provide full-time security for a school or group of schools — would join three others currently patrolling schools in Denham Springs, Walker and Watson.

The Denham Springs and Walker officers are members of their respective city police departments, while the Watson officer is a Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy.

Ard said each deputy would cost his department just under $79,000 per year in salary and benefits. He suggested splitting the cost for the four new deputies, as well as the Watson deputy, equally with the School Board.

The Sheriff’s Office currently pays all expenses for the Watson deputy.

Possible funding sources for the cost-share will be discussed at the board’s Budget and Goals Committee meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m.

Sheriff Ard will attend the meeting, Superintendent John Watson said Thursday.

Other business coming before the School Board on Thursday included:

SCHOOL CALENDAR: The board adopted a calendar for the 2013-14 school year, which will begin for students on Aug. 9 and end May 28.

Teachers and principals will report for full days of planning on Aug. 7 and 8, as well as Jan. 10, according to the adopted calendar.

A parent-teacher conference day is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Holidays include a five-day break for Thanksgiving, 15 days for Christmas and New Year’s, two days for Mardi Gras and six days for Good Friday and Easter week.

A handful of district employees had asked for less time at Christmas in order to extend the Mardi Gras break, Assistant Superintendent Rick Wentzel said. However, the principals and Instruction Supervisor Joe Murphy recommended against the change because of the state’s spring testing schedule, Wentzel said.

ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS: Greg Hayden and Tiah Alphonso were appointed assistant principal at Juban Parc Junior High School and Walker High School, respectively.