OPELOUSAS — People leasing hunting sites or living on St. Landry Parish school system property could face eviction if they are not current with their lease payments.
“About 25 percent of these individuals are not paying on these leases. We send certified letters notifying that their lease payments are past due, but they don’t respond,” said Assistant Superintendent Joseph Cassimere, who handles land and maintenance issues for the school district.
About 640 acres in the Palmetto and Melville areas are available or in the past have been leased for hunting, he said.
But those living or hunting on 300 acres of school district property along Bayou Courtableau present a more complicated matter, Cassimere said.
Superintendent Edward Brown said school officials are in the process of drawing up new guidelines for the Courtableau properties that could provide for evictions for those who have been negligent about paying leases.
Cassimere said the school district is like any other landlord.
“The purpose of leasing the land is for generating some revenue for the school system,” he said.
St. Landry Parish School Board member Anthony Standberry said he hoped the board would not penalize residents who haven’t paid their leases.
“If they are not paid up, there shouldn’t be a penalty. I know we are trying to get money, but right now, there is no policy in place for penalties,” Standberry said.
In another matter Thursday, the School Board chose Raymond Cassimere as its new board president, replacing Standberry.
Raymond Cassimere is a brother of Joseph Cassimere, the assistant superintendent, and the husband of Angela Cassimere, a parishwide testing supervisor.
Board attorney Courtney Joiner said in an interview after the meeting that he doesn’t believe the selection of Raymond Cassimere as board president will present any potential violations with the state’s ethics code.
Joiner said Raymond Cassimere’s role of president should be considered no more significant than it was when he served as one of the district’s 13 elected board members.
“He has been serving as a board member all this time, and it has never been brought up,” Joiner said.
Following Raymond Cassimere’s selection, the board unanimously nominated Randy Wagley as board vice president.
Raymond Cassimere is a retired school principal, and Wagley is an Opelousas attorney.
“I am looking for a collaborative effort (among board members), and I am hoping to keep the system moving forward. I am looking forward to the challenge, and I will give it my best,” Raymond Cassimere said about his appointment.