VILLE PLATTE — The Evangeline Parish School Board debated Wednesday evening a proposal requiring all school coaches to have a Commercial Drivers License.

The discussion began when School Board President Wayne Dardeau said he thought it was unfair to only have coaches with CDLs driving buses to athletic and academic events.

Currently, there is no job description calling for coaches to have a CDL.

“It puts a strain on those few coaches to have to do all of the bus driving,” said Dardeau.

In addition to sporting events, he said those coaches are asked to transport students on field trips and to literary rallies.

Current School Board policy does not require coaches to possess a CDL. But the system will pay for training of those who wish to obtain a CDL.

Personnel Supervisor Mike Lombas recommended against changing the policy.

“This suggestion would mean changing the conditions of employment and adding additional duties to our coaches,” Lombas said.

Lombas suggested that if the board is in favor of the policy change that it should be phased in over a period of time.

Dardeau said neighboring parishes require their coaches to have a CDL.

The School Board approved a motion by member Peggy Forman to authorize Superintendent Toni Hamlin and her staff to conduct a study on how school principals feel about a policy change and to prepare a cost estimate on how much it would impact the schools if they employed First Student for the extracurricular bus transportation.

In other business, Hamlin told the board that the first day of school went smooth.

There were 5,822 students in attendance Wednesday, about the same as a year ago.

Board members were told that the earliest student pickup was at 5:45 a.m. and some students returned home as late as 5 p.m.