LIVINGSTON — From emergency preparedness to athletic eligibility, second chances for failed coursework and school resource officers, the Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday discussed a bevy of issues that affect students and educators.
But the top of the list involves asking parish government to gauge how future developments would affect the school system.
Board Vice President Buddy Mincey Jr. asked Superintendent John Watson to meet with the Parish Council and president to include the school system in impact studies for new developments. The parish already examines traffic, sewage and other issues when new construction is proposed, Mincey said. He wants to add studies that look at school placement, bus routes and district lines.
“Our schools have been the driving force for the parish, and we’re the last ones to find out (about proposed developments),” Mincey said.
Mincey said he wants the school system to be better prepared for projects. Specifics will be determined after the superintendent has a chance to meet with authorities, he said.
Board members also officially codified three policies that Assistant Superintendent Rick Wentzel said had been common practice for several years.
The first policy requires each principal to draw up a campus-specific crisis management plan that addresses emergencies, such as a school shooting. Principals are required to work with local law enforcement and emergency responders to craft a plan, and it is to be revisited annually.
The board approved another policy requiring student athletes maintain a C average. No current athletes will be affected, Wentzel said, because the schools had been enforcing the requirement in compliance with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.
The final policy allows students who have failed a high school course to retake the class using the educational software PLATO, which Watson said the system has been using for at least a decade.
The program offers a variety of classes, including core requirements needed for graduation, the superintendent said.
To pass a course, students need “seat time,” during which they are present. If a student fails a class but meets the seat time requirement, he or she can complete the coursework on PLATO during the summer, after school or in a study hall, Watson said. Both the failing and passing grades appear on transcripts.
Watson also set an athletic and staffing committee meeting for 6 p.m. Oct. 14 to discuss school resource officers.
Currently, the Walker and Denham Springs police departments each pay an officer to serve as SROs in their cities.
Until a year ago, the positions were grant-funded. The School Board will consider giving financial assistance to continue the program.
Watson said they split the cost of six or seven SROs with the Sheriff’s Office to put deputies in schools in the unincorporated areas of the parish and would be interested in a similar arrangement with the police for the municipalities.