Warren Drake and East Baton Rouge Parish School Board leaders say they have worked out a deal to allow the former Zachary superintendent to take the helm of the second-largest public school system in Louisiana.
Drake’s proposed employment contract is on the agenda for a School Board meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at the School Board Office, 1050 S. Foster Drive.
The document, however, was not yet complete as of Wednesday night.
“A couple of board members wanted additional language in there,” explained board President David Tatman, saying the changes are minor.
Tatman said he will post the contract online as soon as it’s ready, which he said he hopes will be Thursday morning.
Drake’s contract would start July 1, the day after Superintendent Bernard Taylor’s contract expires. Drake would remain superintendent through June 30, 2018.
Drake’s proposed contract, however, would hire the 63-year-old educator immediately as a consultant. Drake said he started work Monday, ahead of the board approving his contract, in hopes of getting a jump on preparing for the 2015-16 school year, which starts in August.
“I’m visiting with staff, visiting with schools, trying to learn about people’s plans, what people’s visions are,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to try to do through the month of May.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in June,” he added.
Tatman said the contract names Drake as acting superintendent and chief executive officer starting June 1, something that comes into play if Taylor elects to use any of his accumulated leave prior to June 30. Tatman said he’s not sure what, if any, leave Taylor might take, saying he is actively running the school district in the meantime.
Drake said he had a good meeting with Taylor on Monday and plans to work closely with the outgoing superintendent. Drake, however, said he is not working at Central Office, opting instead to take an office next to Capitol High School at a building known as the Keel Center.
Drake on April 2 landed the superintendent job with a unanimous vote. He was one of 10 applicants.
The board’s agenda Thursday has several other prominent items:
Seeking proposals from accounting firms to evaluate how effectively and efficiently school system departments and programs perform their jobs. The areas to be evaluated include transportation, special education, alternative schools, facilities, outside partnership with nonprofits, Medicaid reimbursement, outsourcing options, parental engagement, early intervention and professional development.
Closing White Hills Elementary School near Baker, unless the school manages by June 30 to increase its enrollment from 185 students, its current enrollment, to 285 students. The board also will consider moving an alternative school, EBR Readiness Academy, to the White Hills campus from its location at Town South Shopping Center on Staring Lane, thereby saving $400,000 a year in rent. If recommended Thursday, the board would take this issue up again at its May 20 meeting.
Moving 324 students from Glasgow, Southeast and Westdale middle schools mostly to Capitol Middle School, but with 33 students heading to Broadmoor Middle and 20 to Brookstown Middle. If recommended Thursday, the board would take this issue up again at its May 20 meeting.
Consider four proposals from private groups to start what are known as Type 1 charters in Baton Rouge in fall 2016. This is an information-only item. The board in April hired Kimberly Williams and her firm, New Millennium Education, to evaluate the four charter school applicants. The board has until June 4 to approve or reject their applications. If rejected, applicants can appeal to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. BESE has until Oct. 14 to rule on those appeals.