ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish School Board voted Tuesday to keep the president’s term at two years, instead of changing it to one year as proposed by board member Sara Wilson-Rogers.
Wilson-Rogers put an item on the agenda that would have changed the language in the board’s policy manual that would call for the board to name a new president every year. The current policy is that presidents and vice presidents are selected during odd-numbered years. Kevin Beauchamp is board president, and Milton Coats is the vice president.
Several times during the discussion, Beauchamp voiced his opposition to changing the policy.
“I don’t understand why we need to change it,” he said.
Wilson-Rogers said she thought it would be good for members of the board to change more frequently in order to give others a chance to serve.
“It’s not fair to the person coming in (to only serve one year) because it takes time to learn how to do it,” Beauchamp countered.
Wilson-Rogers, James White and Coats supported limiting the president’s term to one year, while Amanda McKinney, Beth Tycer, Kelly O’Brien and Beauchamp voted against changing the policy.
Earlier, the board held a 2½-hour strategy session with the district’s supervisors and principals, who outlined their needs for the 2016-17 school year.
Superintendent Hollis Milton told the group that over the past five years, the district’s overall revenue has increased primarily from local revenue sources despite cuts in state and federal funding. The district’s “rainy day” fund balance has increased by $1.6 million during that time, and the general fund balance also has grown by $1.57 million.
Milton said the district has been fiscally responsible over those five years, holding costs down despite budget roller-coasters. The district also has lost a net 5.4 percent of its students, now 2,133 students, and has reduced one employee for every three students, or 12.4 percent of the district’s workforce, now 344 employees.
He recommended the district continue to fund the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program, despite uncertainty about the availability of federal grants. The cost would be roughly $300,000 per year, and he said he is going to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials to discuss further funding for the program.
“We’re one of the success stories, and we have demonstrated our students benefit from the SRCL grants,” said Milton, who also recommended adding several key personnel where needed. “We want people to know we’re an open book and we are good stewards of the public’s money.”