What do you see as the main job responsibilities of a school board representative and how many school board meetings have you attended in person in the last two years?

Policy makers are the main job responsibilities of a School Board.  To ensure that all Federal, State and Local mandates are followed, to approve the annual budget, to maintain oversight over the Superintendent, who by law is the Executive Officer and academic leader of the school board.   The Superintendent is the only employee the School Board can terminate with cause.

I have attended all but three of the Committee as a Whole and Regular Board meetings over the last two years.   I have attended many more Special and Small Group Meeting called by the Superintendent.

 

What is the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) and why is it important to the St. Tammany schools?

The Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) is the format used by the State Legislature to provide funding for Public School Districts in the State of Louisiana.  This is done on a per pupil ratio. The State provides approximately 50% of the General Fund budget.  There is no funding provided for construction and maintenance of our school and other facilities.

 

The state has imposed numerous unfunded mandates on the St. Tammany school system. Discuss two of these mandates and how they affect the school-operating budget.

Technologies testing for many if not all of our Special need population.   Professional Development for all employees, certified and non-certified employees.  There is also Professional Development for Central Office staff and school board members. The school system also pays a percentage of retirement benefits for certified and non-certified employees. State testing will require one on one computer/student ratio by the year 2020.

 

Tammany has an “out of district” policy that states a student must attend the public school in the district where the parent/ guardian owns a home and claims a homestead exemption or has proof of rent or lease.  There have been reported cases in which the policy has been violated.  A by-product of the policy violation is the overcrowding of some schools and under-utilization of others. Do you think anything should be done to balance the enrollment and reduce the need for more buildings? If so, what?

The Child Welfare and Attendance Department have guidelines in place and policies to evaluate and determine whether a request for placement of Out-of-District is valid.  Redistricting which last took place in 2014 addressed many of the issues with the overcrowding of all schools.  This is a constant battle because certain areas are growing so much faster in our parish. Hardship for parents and students are dealt with by the Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor and his staff on an individual basis.

 

A major concern to parents and voters is the safety of our children while they are in our care at school.  By the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, all 55 schools will have a school resource officer (SRO) funded by FEMA and the BP oil settlement.  These funds will eventually expire.  Would you favor increasing the school board tax millage to cover this cost or do you have another suggestion for coming up with the money?

The Superintendent, as the Executive Officer for the School Board along with his staff and the formation of varies committee will plan, evaluate and make recommendedations to the board before funding runs out.  My suggestions are to give the Superintendent, his staff and committees the opportunity to make a recommendation first.

 

The Louisiana Industrial Ad Valorem Tax Exemption program allows school districts to reject exemptions that decrease the tax revenue available to the school board. What action, if any, should the school board take in compliance with the current law to adopt new policies and standards for industries seeking tax exemptions?  Do you think the school board should accept or reject most exemptions?

Nothing has been done at this point and time regarding the Industrial Ad Tax Exemption. A process and recommendation will be made in the future whereas all necessary information is made public. The School Board should accept exemption only if it benefits our school system and the parish.