CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish School Board voted Tuesday to lower the academic requirement for participating in athletics and other extracurricular activities.
The board also raised the amount set aside for paying employees a salary supplement later this month and revealed that an expected bid to buy the 1938 Clinton High School Building fell through Monday.
Superintendent Carlos J. Sam recommended lowering the minimum grade-point average for a student-athlete from 2.0 to 1.5 on a 4.0 scale, which is in line with policies of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and some surrounding school districts.
The board agreed but also expanded it to include students participating in band or cheerleading.
The LHSAA considers a 1.5 GPA to be a C average.
Sam said extra measures will be taken to encourage students who are struggling with their grades to participate and raise their academic averages. Any student-athlete with less than a 2.0 average will be required to attend a study hall before going to practice, and coaches will be required to monitor their academic progress, he said.
In addition, students and parents will sign a “contract” requiring a monthly parent-teacher conference for student-athletes whose grades are below a 2.0, he said.
“We value academics; we value athletics. If you want to be on the team, you have to make the extra effort,” the superintendent said.
No board members or people in the audience spoke against the change.
In an effort to balance the budget this year, the board put $100,000 aside to give employees a “13th check” in December. Last year, the board divided $250,000 among the employees, for an average payment of $800.
The money comes from a property tax dedicated to employee salaries.
Financial adviser Tommy LeJeune said an error “at the state level” led to a duplicate deduction of $85,451 from the property tax revenue for payments to the state retirement systems.
Some of the money has been repaid, but not all of it, LeJeune said.
He recommended increasing the pool of money from $100,000 to $150,000, and the Finance Committee agreed to the recommendation Monday.
Committee member Paul Kent said he perhaps had been too hasty in voting for the $50,000 increase Monday and urged the full board to make it $200,000.
Board members discussed paying employees from a $150,000 pot this month and additional money later when an additional $50,000 is returned to the school system.
“If we know the money is coming, why hold it?” said board member Derald Spears Sr., and the board then voted unanimously to increase the figure to $200,000. LeJeune had estimated the average check from the $150,000 appropriation would be $550.
On another matter, Kent reported that Pac-Tec Inc., a Clinton manufacturing firm that had asked the board to sell the old, unused high school building on Plank Road, did not submit a bid by Monday’s deadline.
Pac-Tec President Mike Schilling apologized for any inconvenience his request had caused, but he said a detailed cost analysis shows that buying and rehabilitating the structure for company offices would be cost prohibitive.
He said he hopes the building is “restored to its past glory,” and said his company will reimburse the board for its appraisal and surveying costs.
Building Committee Chairman Mitch Harrell said the building is “just a shell,” with the interior no longer usable.