As an elected member of the St. Tammany Parish School Board my duties are to determine policies by which the school system will operate. It is also my responsibility to be visible in the schools, community, and to attend board functions. Further, the board hires the Superintendent and evaluates his performance. Board members should also be responsive to community concerns. I have attended in person most every board meeting held-board meetings and committee meetings-during my time as the District 2 representative.
The Minimum Foundation Program is the constitutionally provided formula that the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education annually develops to determine the cost of a minimum foundation program of education for the students in Louisiana schools. The formula is then submitted to the state legislature for a vote. It is not amended by the legislative body. The complex formula is important to the school system because it is the main source of revenue. (Followed closely by local support.)
With the implementation of high stakes testing, tests will be administered online to students. This has required school systems to increase and update the technology within the system. Funds must be dedicated to provide networking capabilities and computers. State laws requiring safety measures such as lock down drills, the development of school crisis plans, and active shooter drills have been implemented.
While these are necessary (and good) changes, they are still unfunded mandates requiring time and costs to develop.
I believe the policy should be enforced regarding students attending schools within the district they reside. We have a waiver system in place to accommodate students and families that have special circumstances and I believe this is necessary. I further believe that it is time to examine school boundary lines to determine if we can reduce/ increase capacity at all schools. This study will let the system know where and if additional buildings are necessary.
Hopefully, the community will respond to this important need by voting to include a portion of the funding in a bond renewal which would not increase the millage to the citizens. Additionally, I hope the state legislature will contribute funding for school safety and dedicate it in the law. Local law enforcement is helping to bear the cost of the SRO’s. Also, it will probably be necessary to find a portion of the operating budget to help fund this expense. Like the need for other important programs, funds are dedicated where needed. All sources of funding are examined.
I am aware of this new law, but do not know all of the specifics at this time. It is my understanding that several parish groups must vote on the decision. I will need to research this law before making decisions regarding these proposals. At this time, I would be inclined to not allow the exemptions.