LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish School Board, at its meeting on June 15, voted unanimously to purchase 55 buses to replace buses lost in the extensive flooding in August.
School Board member Jim Richardson, who is chairman of the board’s Transportation Committee, said 61 buses were lost in the flood and that his committee, along with the Transportation Department, has taken steps to search for replacement buses. The buses will be purchased at an average cost of approximately $33,000 per bus for a total of about $1.8 million.
The buses will be 2008-14 models and will be purchased from three Louisiana vendors. With the purchase of the 55 buses, the school system’s fleet of buses will again be complete.
At the same meeting, the board voted to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Denham Springs Police Department and the Walker Police Department to provide school resource officers for the coming school year. Seven officers will provide security at the parish schools.
Superintendent Rick Wentzel said police officers have provided “immeasurable value” to the schools they serve. “The officers bring a calming, secure atmosphere to our schools, and their interaction with the students has proved to be of great benefit,” he said.
Board President Malcolm Sibley echoed Wentzel’s sentiments, telling the board, “In this day and time, we need these officers more than ever. They have become a part of our system, and they have added something special to the our schools and our students.”
In an unrelated matter, the board approved increasing the funding for the school system’s annual audit and voted to retain the services of Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, for auditing the system through 2019. Wentzel said additional requirements from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office will cost the board more for its auditing services. He said the new requirements from the state are still under review and that if they are changed, the board will not have to spend additional money on its auditing.
New requirements from the state will mean that the auditors will have to expand their work by about 40 hours at a cost of several thousand dollars.
The board also briefly discussed the possibility of purchasing cyber insurance. During a discussion on renewal of several insurance policies, Carmel Breaux, of Norris Insurance Consultants Inc., said she had researched the need and availability of cyber insurance at the request of several board members.
Breaux said that while she could not find any claims against Louisiana schools that might be involved in “hacking” or other cyber crimes, some schools in other states had encountered such problems. “Cyber insurance is available, and it’s something you might consider later,” she said.
The board appointed Charles “Brad” Neal assistant principal at North Corbin Junior High School and Misti Thomason as substitute principal at South Fork Elementary School. Both appointments are effective July 1.
The board will hold one meeting in July, on Thursday, July 13. The board traditionally holds two meetings each month.