The pending election for the Jefferson Parish School Board has been publicized as “business interests” opposing the union, particularly with respect to the five East Bank candidates. Those candidates formed the majority which introduced reform to the system, which at the time was ranked as one of the worst in the state and was running a $30 million dollar deficit. They were and are currently supported by Jefferson Parish business people, i.e., “business interests” who understand the importance of turning around a failing system to the overall economic prosperity and social wellbeing of the parish.

These “business interests” are living, breathing residents of Jefferson Parish who have personally invested in it, reside in it and are passionate about keeping the public school system moving forward in a positive manner and recognizing teachers for their accomplishments in doing so.

Union bosses who reside outside of Jefferson Parish seek to categorize this involvement as a “takeover” while trying to avoid the issue of what is in the best interests of the children who attend public schools, such as evaluating performance of those entrusted with educating children rather than simple entrenchment as a result of tenure.

Providing all children with the opportunity to receive a quality K-12 education is the focus of these local businessmen and women who believe that failure to do so is not acceptable. Union bosses, who represent far less than a majority of teachers in the system, seem more concerned about hanging on to their paid positions by advocating for reversion back to a system that had failed for too many years.

The electorate, which overwhelmingly voted for reform in the last school board election, should look beyond the cheap pandering that union bosses are currently perpetrating and vote to maintain the reforms that are reflecting success by various measurements.

Tony Ligi

executive director, Jefferson Business Council