BAKER — The School Board voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to appoint East Baton Rouge School Board member Vereta Lee as a “literacy coach” at Baker Middle School with an annual salary of $53,070.
Board member Troy Watson voted against interim Superintendent Ulysses Joseph’s recommendation to hire Lee.
Joseph said that the new hire would be responsible for tutoring students, especially in reading.
“I think we need to do more in reading,” Joseph said. “Furthermore, this individual is qualified in counseling, child welfare and attendance. You never know when you might need someone in another area.”
Board member Doris T. Alexander said that the proposed salary for the new hire seemed high.
Joseph said that the figure reflected Lee’s years of experience and educational level.
Board member Shona Boxie added that Lee would be paid from federal funds.
Alexander also expressed concern about Lee’s previous employment record.
Lee was laid off June 30 as supervisor of transportation and literacy for the St. Helena Parish School Board.
In 2002, Lee sued the East Baton Rouge Parish school district after being suspended under allegations that she helped students cheat.
The 19th Judicial District Court and the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Lee’s five-year suspension.
Other items before the board included:
SES CONTRACTS: After hearing from Samantha Williams, supervisor of federal programs for the school district, the board voted 3-2 to approve contracts with 12 supplemental educational services providers for the 2011-12 school year with an amendment concerning security.
Alexander and Watson cast the dissenting votes, both expressing concern about the safety of the students participating in the programs, which will provide in-home and on-site tutoring at Bakerfield Elementary, Baker Heights Elementary, and Baker Middle schools.
According to the contracts, the SES providers must arrange for security services when more than 200 students are being taught.
Williams said only 129 students would participate in the federally funded program. She added that school personnel would be at the schools while tutoring was taking place.
Board member Elaine Davis made the motion to approve the contracts with the security stipulation deleted.
“Since less than 200 students will be served, it’s a moot point anyway,” she said.
REDISTRICTING: The board voted unanimously to hire Technology Source LLC to redraw district lines for the school system.
NEW SUPERINTENDENT: The School Board voted to begin advertising for a superintendent of schools.
Joseph has served as interim superintendent since January, succeeding former Superintendent Estes Taplin, who resigned over a contract dispute.
TAX ELECTION: The board voted unanimously to put a proposition to renew the school district’s 2 percent sales and use tax on the March 24, 2012, municipal primary election ballot.
Voters approved the tax in 1999 for a period of 10 years beginning July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2013.
LIBRARIAN HEARING: The board voted 4-1 to approve a resolution calling for a tenure hearing for Maxine Gray, librarian at Baker Heights Elementary, at a date to be set by the board president.
Davis voted against the resolution.