REFINANCING OF CONSTRUCTION BONDS TO SAVE TAX PAYERS
The Livingston Parish School Board has agreed to refinance construction bonds that were used to fund the construction of Juban Parc Elementary and Juban Park Junior High, as well as improvement at other schools in the Denham Springs School District, in order to save thousands of dollars to local tax payers.
Voters in School District 1 approved the $26 million bond issue in 2007, agreeing to pay off the bonds with an increase in the local millage rate through 2027. Since that time, the millage rate has decreased as the debt has been paid down and more assessed property value has been added to the local tax rolls. School board members will refinance up to $18.5 million of the remaining balance at a new lower rate, which underwriters estimate will save as much as $60,000 per year through 2027, and still allow the district to continue decreasing the millages each year.
LIVE OAK MIDDLE SCHOOL GYM TO BE A DESIGNATED RED CROSS SHELTER
The Livingston Parish School Board has agreed to team up with the parish government to secure money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make improvements at the old Live Oak High School gymnasium, which will allow the building to serve as an emergency shelter. A total of $1.9 million will be spent to provide a new roof and floor for the gym, beefing up storm protection and giving the gym FEMA certification to be a Red Cross staging area and shelter for the area in disasters. The school system will only have to pay a quarter of the cost of the improvements. The parish will pay the majority of the cost, using funding from a FEMA grant. The old LOHS campus, where the gym is located, is being renovated into a 7th and 8th grade campus and will become Live Oak Junior High. The current Live Oak Middle School campus will only house 5th and 6th grade students upon the transition.
MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS LEARN STRATEGIES TO INSPIRE STUDENTS TO ACHIEVE MORE
The parish’s middle school teachers returned from their New Year holiday early to attend a day-long professional development conference at the Literacy & Technology Center on January 9 that featured several education speakers who specialize in middle school curriculum and understanding adolescent behavior. The conference, which was titled “Inspire Middle Minds to Achieve More,” featured five guest speakers – Jack Berckemeyer, Mark McLeod, Debbie Silver, Sharon Faber and Kim Campbell.
LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS PARTICIPATING IN STATE’S EARLY CHILDHOOD PILOT PROGRAM
Livingston Parish Public Schools is among a network of 33 school districts who are participating in a Louisiana Department of Education pilot program to unify a set of standards for early childhood programs, including child care, Head Start and pre-kindergarten. Superintendent John Watson said the district plans to enroll children for the fall of 2015. “We are excited for the opportunity to participate in this pilot program. Our goal is to identify qualifying children by June 30, 2015,” Watson said.
The 33 new pilots will receive more than $3 million to bring together publicly-funded early childhood programs and commit to:
- Training teachers and leaders to use high standards for children
- Using shared tools to evaluate teachers and assess children’s progress
- Ensure all teachers have access to professional development and receive ongoing feedback and coaching
- Use a coordinated enrollment process for all programs for fall 2016
- Identify all at-risk infant-to-age-five children in the community in need and plan to serve all eligible four-year-olds by June 30, 2016
Livingston Parish Schools is receiving $150,000 to implement its program.