LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to survey classroom teachers for their input on discipline issues.
When the survey was first suggested at the board’s May 1 meeting, Superintendent Pat Cooper requested the board seek a third party to create an unbiased survey.
Cooper, and at least one teacher, Erin May of Alice Boucher Elementary, echoed the suggestion of third-party involvement before the board’s vote Wednesday.
May, who teaches third-grade students, asked the board to defer action to investigate outsourcing the survey “so we’re certain that the information we get is obtained in a neutral, unbiased manner.”
Board member Greg Awbrey proposed the survey, which asks questions about whether teachers feel safe at school and if discipline issues are handled in a timely manner.
In an executive committee meeting earlier Wednesday, he said the survey offers a window into what’s going on in schools.
At the May 1 meeting, Cooper criticized the survey plan, saying control measures weren’t in place to prevent fraud or duplication of surveys.
Awbrey said Wednesday that the Lafayette Parish Retired Teachers Association will manage the mailing and collection of the surveys, which will remain anonymous.
Each survey will be stamped with a number to ensure no duplication, Awbrey said.
Classroom teachers will have until June 15 to submit their responses and the results will be discussed during the board’s July 3 meeting.
Other items discussed during the meeting Wednesday included:
BUS DRIVERS: The board voted 7-2 to maintain educational requirements of a high school diploma or GED for substitute bus drivers.
Board members Awbrey and Kermit Bouillion voted against maintaining the education requirement.
Transportation Director Bill Samec had proposed relaxing the requirement for at least six months to help fill open positions, however, board member Rae Trahan, a former bus driver, asked the board to support a substitute motion not to relax the educational requirements.
She said discipline issues prevent people from applying.
“We can get drivers if we do it right. We just need to do better work here,” Trahan said.
The district has 41 substitute drivers. Open full-time driving positions are filled from the substitute pool. Samec told the board he has 22 drivers leaving the system.
“Yesterday, we had 49 bus drivers out ... Tomorrow, there will be a school that won’t get transportation. (I) called the principal and said kids could get to school at 10 o’clock or you call the parents,” Samec told the board members before they voted. “I only see this situation getting worse.”
SCHOOL CALENDAR: The board unanimously approved a revision to the 2013-14 school calendar to create a 174-classroom day calendar and add two more professional development days to prepare employees for massive changes to the core curriculum.
The board previously approved the 2013-14 school calendar April 17 with 176 classroom days, which provided only four days for professional development.
Board member Hunter Beasley requested the revision to the April 17 decision as a compromise to district staff’s request of a 170-classroom day calendar that built in 10 days of professional development into the calendar.
Beasley also had requested the board reconsider its April 17 decision to eliminate staff’s recommendation of a 30-minute intervention period built into the school day for struggling students. Students who did not need remediation would take an enrichment class.
The reinstatement of the intervention failed Wednesday in a 4-5 vote. Board members Beasley, Bouillion, Mark Cockerham and Shelton Cobb voted in favor of the intervention. Board members Awbrey, Trahan, Mark Allen Babineaux, Tommy Angelle and Tehmi Chassion voted against it.