OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish School Board voted 7-6 on Monday after a lengthy debate Monday to begin the process of hiring a central office accountant and an instructional specialist.
Board members Hazel Sias and Milton Ambres disagreed with the personnel committee’s recommendation and said there are other areas in the school district that are in need of employees, such as the maintenance department and classroom teachers.
Superintendent Edward Brown said there is also an immediate need for another accountant because the person currently handling the position is overloaded with work.
Brown said maintenance department matters are being contracted out according to the job, rather than hiring a person to handle the work.
Board member Roger Young said the board should not interfere with Brown’s judgments about personnel.
“We need to trust people and work with (Brown) and the people in the central office. I don’t know that we have bring it to the full board and the public,” Young said.
Ambres said he is concerned the district is hiring too many employees for the central office.
In 2012, when the district experienced financial problems, a number of central office positions were eliminated, Ambres said.
“In the central office, we are now hiring all these people back,” Ambres said.
Voting to advertise for the positions were Young, Candace Gerace, Donnie Perron, Kyle Boss, Huey Wyble, Randy Wagley and Mary Ellen Donatto.
Voting no were Ambres, Sias, Charles Ross, Raymond Cassimere, Albert Hayes and Anthony Standberry.
In another matter the board spent 16 minutes in closed session discussing a 2012 lawsuit filed by Rycars LLC, which names the board and the Kohler AIA Architectural as plaintiffs.
According to 27th Judicial Court court records, Rycars alleges the district owes the company the remaining $73,070 for a $179,397 classroom construction project at Eunice’s Highland Elementary.
The district alleges the Highland Elementary job was done improperly and is incomplete, alleging Rycars failed to install a water removal system on the roof.
The Rycars lawsuit also alleges Kohlers’ architectural design is faulty, which is why there might be defects that recur in connection with the project.
Following the closed session the board took no action on the matter.
Also the board voted 7-6 to table an executive committee report that recommended changing the times of all committee meetings from 4 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Hayes said he prefers starting the committee meetings later during the day in order to let more persons attend.