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?

1.- Communicate with my constituents and keep them up to date on the issues being discussed by the School Board.

2.- Stay in contact with other school system throughout the country to make sure we are providing the best education possible.

3.- Making sure the school system has the finances necessary to provide the best possible education for our students.

I have attended 8 school board meetings over last two years.

 

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

The MFP is the way the state of Louisiana guarantees the public schools will get enough money per student to educate its youth.  No one seems to understand the formula used to determine the amount of money the MFP will send to each district for the number of students in that district.  The amount of money provided per student has varied little over the last several years. The good thing about the MFP is that it has remained off limits to legislators wanting to use this money for other purposes.

 

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.

1.-One of the most frustrating unfunded mandates that I dealt with as a principal was the requirement to give student standardized test on line without any financial support from the state to help provide students with up to date computers for this testing.  This is very expensive and luckily our district has the funds to keep up with the technology necessary to accomplish this mandate.

2.-The state just started a new unfunded mandate this year which requires high schools to provide remediation to students who did not score an eighteen on the ACT.  This remediation requires more time to be taken out of the teachers’ day to provide this remediation for no extra pay.  Some schools could have over 100 students who would need this service which would require another full time teacher to provide the service with no funding available.

 

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?

As a high school principal, I experienced the moving of students from one high school to another by the supervisor in charge of this task. Usually, this was the best option for the student who came to our school and did well or went to another school and did well.  Over my 15 years as principal I would estimate that the number of students who left us in this manor was equally replaced with someone from another school.

 

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?

Yes, in my opinion there is no price I wouldn’t pay to keep our campuses safe.

 

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?

Generally, I would reject these proposals.  However, if a company is going to bring industry that will bring help to the community and employment opportunities there may be some flexibility for an exemption.