LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish School Board unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting on April 13 that proclaims May 1-5 as Public Schools Employee Appreciation Week in recognition of the “dedication and contributions of school system employees.”

Superintendent Rick Wentzel, in asking approval of the resolution, told the board that the system’s employees were forced to endure what he termed a “devastating ordeal” when floodwaters inundated the parish in August.

Wentzel said all the school system’s employees worked tirelessly to restore the schools to a sense of normalcy following the flood. He said many of those employees continued to help restore the schools while dealing with personal tragedy as their own homes were damaged in the flood.

“All system employees contribute immeasurably to the intellectual and occupational preparation of individual students who will eventually determine the quality of life in America and in Livingston Parish,”  the resolution said. The proclamation calls for parish residents to “accord the school system employees with the deepest respect and admiration they so richly deserve.”

Wentzel said all parish residents owe the school system employees a deep debt of gratitude for their efforts in continuing the mission of educating the parish’s youth in the face of extraordinary challenges during the early part of the current school year.

The board also agreed to allow food providers to the system to renew their bids for an additional year in lieu of rebidding. The request for the renewal, in each case, states, “Due to the events of the great flood of 2016, the school system is requesting that you renew items awarded to your company from the 2016-2017 year for an additional year.”

The following agreed to renew their bids from last year: Kleinpeter Dairy, milk and milk products; Pon Food, a variety of frozen and dry goods; Capitol City Produce, disposable products; Domino’s Pizza, A La Carte Pizza; and Economical Janitorial & Paper Supply, disposable products.

In a related matter, the board chose Lard Oil Co., the low bidder, to supply gas and diesel for the school system through 2018. Five companies submitted bids to supply fuel to the system.

The board also approved a resolution that authorizes the school system to purchase some materials through the Region 8 Education Services Center, Interlocal Purchasing System. Board President Malcolm Sibley said the joint purchasing plan was negotiated through the Louisiana School Boards Association and allows school systems to purchase materials through TIPS and well as the state contract system.

The board recognized Skyler Ratcliff, a student at South Live Oak Elementary School, for her winning entry in the Louisiana School Boards Association's 2017 Artwork Contest. Ratcliff won third place in the statewide contest with her entry, “Wonders of Mardi Gras.” She was recognized along with her art teacher, Kerry Curtin, who is an active participant in the Arts Council of Livingston Parish.

A group of students from Springfield High School took top honors in the association's 2017 Video Contest. The students created a documentary on the flooding at their high school and how the faculty and students worked together to help in the school’s recovery. Their work was titled “Arts in Our Hearts.”

After the video was shown, Wentzel told the group, “We all went through things this year that we will never forget. This was an experience that you will remember for the rest of your lives, and it will make your stronger and prepare you to be a leader. We need strong, talented leaders such as you are. … Please stay in Livingston Parish and make this your home.”