CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish School Board members debated Tuesday whether the consolidated high school should use the former Clinton High football stadium for games in the 2012 season or switch to a renovated stadium at its campus in Jackson.
East Feliciana High School, combined from the Jackson and Clinton student bodies last year, played its home games at the Clinton field, which is now the parish’s consolidated middle school.
Board member Rufus Nesbitt said the school system is wasting money on transporting consolidated high school football players between Jackson and Clinton for games and practice.
East Feliciana High assistant coach Michael Odendahl said, however, no extra money is spent on transportation because the buses used are already running between the schools.
“If you poll the kids from Jackson, they want to play here (in Clinton),” he said. “The facilities are better.”
Board member Olivia Harris expressed frustration that the issue has not been resolved.
“This is dividing our parish,” she said. “All the children are our children.”
A motion proposed by Nesbitt to add a vote on the issue to the agenda died for lack of a second, with other board members saying the district cannot afford to renovate the smaller stadium in Jackson.
Other matters coming before the board included:
FINANCES: The school district’s financial situation was an issue throughout the meeting.
“We have to look at our finances,” board President Michael Ray Bradford said. “There is no good time for taxes. We have to stop the bleeding.”
He noted that the board would need to discuss raising taxes soon, since the schools are losing students and, with them, state aid.
VIDEO POKER: Nesbitt renewed his call for a parishwide referendum on “gaming,” saying East Feliciana is losing video poker revenue to West Feliciana and St. Helena parishes.
Police Jury member Louis Kent said the Legislature would have to adopt a bill allowing for a special election in East Feliciana, since voters did away with video poker years ago.
TAX REVENUE: Superintendent Doug Beauchamp said the system’s sales tax revenue for June was $187,044, a slight increase from June 2010.
The board renewed its sales tax collection contract with the Police Jury for another year, with no change in the amount the jury pays the board to collect its sales tax money.
MINERAL LEASES: Members agreed to let the state handle advertising for mineral lease bidding for the board’s 16th Section property and school campuses.