The West Feliciana Parish school system would have been an A-rated district if the state Education Department would have released school performance scores for the 2020-21 school year, Superintendent Hollis Milton told the School Board on Nov. 16.

Milton, who became superintendent in June 2010, made the comments after a lengthy closed-door session with board members who discussed his annual performance evaluation.

Board President Milton Coats said Milton met all of the performance goals the board set for him during the past year.

Milton said he had an average of 3.48 on a scale of zero to 4.0 in the board members’ individual assessments of his performance.

State education officials did not rate schools and districts with a letter grade for the past school year, acknowledging that many would have dropped because of difficulties in teaching during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The state started giving letter grades on “school report cards” in 2010, but did not rate districts or school for 2019-20 and 2020-21 because of the pandemic.

For the school year that ended in May, however, the state Education Department provided districts with what it called “simulated school performance data.”

“We know how to plug in the data and determine a district score,” Milton said, adding that he advised parents Friday that “we’re still an A district.” Despite the challenges of some coronavirus quarantines during the year for individual students and teachers, the performance remained high, he said.

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He also told the board that increased after-school tutoring may have contributed to the students’ success.

Milton also told parents in his emailed message that West Feliciana has been an A-rated district for nine of the 11 years the state has rated district performance.

Although West Feliciana students’ accomplishments were not recognized on a state level, “we’re trying to celebrate locally,” Milton said of his message to parents.

In another unrelated report, Clay Slagle, a representative of construction manager Volkert Inc., said the price tag for the new Bains Elementary School dropped by $51,517 as a result of five cost changes for the construction. The board also accepted his recommendation to extend the contractor’s deadline for finishing the job by 12 days because of rainy weather in May and June.

As a result, the school is expected to be substantially complete by May 18, 2022.

In other action, the board:

  • Recognized Bains Lower Elementary School principal Torrence Williams, who is resigning to join the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, an organization that supports career development for educators. The school system is accepting applications to fill the position at least through Nov. 26.
  • Awarded a plaque and other gifts to Leon Minor, who retired in 2016 as a school bus driver with 38 years experience, but continues as a substitute driver on almost a daily basis. “It’s been a joy,” Minor told the board.
  • Saluted three former players for a semipro baseball team that represented the Hardwood community in the 1950s and ‘60s. Milton said he wants the school system to feature Albert Davis, Jimmie Collins and Bobby Davis in an oral history project to preserve the story of the former lumber mill community and its baseball team.
  • Adopted a resolution acknowledging that all seven of its board districts must be altered because of population changes noted in the 2020 census.
  • Learned that the West Feliciana Middle School library will be dedicated to the memory of the late Lloyd Lindsey in a 6 p.m. program at the school on Dec. 9.
  • Heard that Li’l Jimmy Reed, a world-famous blues singer born in Hardwood, will perform for students at the West Feliciana High School Auditorium from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.