The St. Tammany Parish School Board unanimously agreed Thursday at its committee as a whole meeting that a work group should be formed to discuss policy revisions regarding how it should handle board members should they run afoul of the law, as well as rules governing members of the public requesting time to speak at school board meetings.
District 7 member Shelta Richardson made the proposal, saying the decision to do so stemmed from an incident where a constituent asked that an item be added to the school board agenda so the board could discuss the possibility of removing of one of its members.
The district policy currently allows people to place an item on an agenda by submitting a request to the superintendent before noon the Friday before the upcoming meeting.
Richardson felt clarification was needed, however, after the constituent communicated she had problems getting the item on the agenda.
“Because this is not a common request, there was a lot of confusion in the communication," Richardson said.
Richardson, who took office in January, also proposed a policy revision that would create protocol for how the board deals with members who have been arrested or indicted on a charge of crimes. She proposed that should a board member be arrested, they must notify the board chairman and would be suspended from public appearances and participating in expulsion hearings until charges were cleared.
The proposal comes after a monthslong scandal involving shoplifting charges against District 9 member Sharon Lo Drucker. The board passed a resolution at its February meeting requesting that Drucker resign, but she declined and remains on the board. Only a recall by District 9 voters can remove her from office.
“I am not trying to dig up old news, serve as a judge or remove a school board member at this point," Richardson said. "While our board did pass a resolution regarding the incident in District 9, I do not feel the current policy is sufficient given the fact that it lacks the protocol for when and if a school board member is arrested or there is an admission of guilt.
“Policy is a living breathing document. It is ever-changing. When things like this happen, it forces us to revisit policy.”
Drucker was one of 14 board members who voted Thursday in favor of forming the work group. Rickey Hursey was absent. The final vote on the work group proposal will be held at the school board's full meeting on March 21.
In other business Thursday, the board gave preliminary approval to a collection of bids for repairs to local schools.
Among the schools:
Bonne Ecole Elementary School, $135,552, roofing portion of its main building.
Boyet Junior High School, $167,300, cafeteria roofing.
Fontainebleau High School, $237,700, site work.
Mandeville Elementary School, $251,000, roofing.
Pearl River High School. $332,900, sidewalk construction, general maintenance.
Slidell High School, $224,000, roofing.
Slidell Junior High, $328,365, roofing.
Treen Technology Center, $162,990, roofing.