|
|
Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • MPSB meeting heats up

    • email print
  • The discussion turned heated at a special called meeting of the Morehouse Parish School Board Tuesday night. The first item to be considered was the addition of a Dean of Students for both Morehouse Jr. High School and Delta Jr. High School. School Superintendent Dr. George Noflin Jr. expressed the need for these positions at both schools due to an increase in enrollment as well as the absence of an assistant principal at Delta and only one assistant at MJH. "The preliminary enrollment numbers at both of these school are in excess of 400 and the vacated slots of retiring assistant principals was not filled," Noflin said. "This position would not be on the administration pay scale, but on the teacher pay scale." District 2 member Louis Melton made a motion, which was seconded by District 1 member Karen Diel to consider the schools separately. This motion passed and Melton addressed the board regarding Delta. "This position will not be paid through the general fund, but through the East Morehouse tax fund," Melton said. "We asked Dr. Noflin to save money and he saved $100,000 by not replacing the retiring assistant principal at the Learning Academy. The Dean of Students saves us money because of the pay scale and if you have a need, we can't worry about the budget all the time, but think about the students." District 5 member pointed out that there is no money in the budget to hire a Dean of Students, even if they are a teacher's salary. "We can't spend money we don't have," Stephens said. To which Melton replied, "Well, we have been. If it helps our students, we have to." MJH Principal Sheila Minor asked to address the board with her latest enrollment numbers. "At the end of today, my enrollment was 512 and climbing. I have 10 requests on my desk right now that will add to this number and we need additional help," Minor said. "There are 225 sixth graders alone enrolled." The ending enrollment for 2012 - 2013 at MJH was 398, which makes this year's beginning number an increase of 114 students. The motion to hire a Dean of Students at MJH passed on the votes of Melton, Robert Fenceroy (District 7) and Tamika Farrell (District 6), with Diel and Stephens voting against. Absent for this vote were Ron Vollmar (District 3) and Jeff Churchwell (District 4). In the matter of a Dean for Delta, this passed unanimously, again with Vollmar and Churchwell absent. The next item for consideration was to consider payment of extra stipends for Dr. David Nordman, who is serving in the capacity of Principal at Bastrop High School and as the Secondary Supervisor of Curriculum, Jesse Winston, who is the Civil Rights Officer, the technology supervisor and the Director of federal programs and Pam Walker, an IT technician. "These employees holding more than one position is non-debatable due to cuts we have made," Dr. Noflin said. "In other districts, there would be three people doing the jobs Mr. Winston is performing." Discussion into the stipends from Melton echoed his sentiment regarding the Dean of Students position. "Dr. Noflin has already saved the District around $300,000 because these positions are being done by one person instead of two or three," Melton said. "We can't ask these people to do more than one job and not get compensated." Stephens' concerns about the stipends stemmed from the recent pay freeze for teachers. "How will us giving these stipends effect current employees who were due a raise," Stephens asked. Melton replied that they would probably feel mistreated, but that was better than having their job cut. Diel added that she did not know how she could answer that question if asked by a teacher. Winston asked to address the board due to his status as the federal programs director. "Because I am paid for my other two positions {Grant Director and Civil Rights Officer} with federal funds, if I do not receive the stipend, I can no longer perform as the technology supervisor and some changes will have to be made in that department," Winston said. The tied roll-call vote defeated the motion, with Diel, Vollmar and Stephens voting against and Melton, Fenceroy and Farrell voting for. The last items on the agenda concerned Beekman Charter School, with a rent consideration of $100 a month versus $2,500 a month where BCS would be responsible for all maintenance as well as insurance payments and deductibles. This item was presented by Stephens and addressed by Melton. "You are steady preaching about the deficient, but you want us to lower the rent? We can't afford to go to $100," Melton exclaimed. "Where we gonna cut that deficient from?' Melton continued by adding his displeasure at finding out recently that the enrollment at BCS was not what was originally stated, but up 112 students. "First, they are getting 112 more students than we agreed on and now you want to cut the rent?" Melton asked. "What is Beekman Charter School costing this system? Keith Huntsman, BCH's board president told Melton that in the contract, it was stated that they could go 20 percent above their number, which is what they did. He also told the board that they were willing to take on all maintenance and repair charges, which in turn would save the District around $43,000. Farrell reminded the Board that Beekman was still a part of the Morehouse Parish School District and the District would benefit from their test scores. BCS Roy McCoy stated, "We would hope that the District would view this as an educational partnership. We are all after the same thing, which is to improve education in Morehouse Parish." "This school also brought students into the system that had been attending private schools as well as schools outside Morehouse Parish," Diel added. The vote to lower the rent was passed with Diel, Vollmar, Churchwell, Stephens and Farrell voting for and Melton and Fenceroy voting against. The board also considered allowing BCS to increase their enrollment for the 2014 -2015 from the initial number of 680 to 780 and from 740 to 840 for the years following. Much discussion was had by the board regarding these numbers, with Melton stating again his distaste at the enrollment numbers this year not being what he thought they would be. "I just saw the contract for the first time last week and I was not aware of the 20 percent overage in it," Melton said heatedly. It was brought to his attention the number of students that had not been in the system now attending school at Beekman. "We have a large contingency of students going to schools outside this district," Churchwell said. "I would love to have the problem where we did not have to attract students to Morehouse Parish, but if they chose to go to Beekman, at least we are getting them back in our system." Huntsman told the board that approximately 100 of the students at Beekman had came from the private school sector as well as from other parishes. The vote to allow the increased numbers passed with Melton being the sole against vote. "Let them have what they want," Fenceroy said. "Although several items on tonight's agenda concerned Beekman, I want all students to know that we have not forgotten them," Dr. Noflin said. "We have other wonderful schools in this district including one that may even be a Blue Ribbon School and I know that all the schools have the potential to be great."
      • calendar