January 2022


Third grader Cohen St. Amant, 9, jumps out of the car high-fiving Butch the Yellow Jacket mascot played by Sarah Lambert during the first day back to school for Denham Springs Elementary students in their newly constructed building. Photo provided by The Advocate Photographer Bill Feig.

Students and staff at Denham Springs Elementary returned to school for the second semester in their newly constructed, two-story building after having to work at one of the temporary campuses that was built following the 2016 flood.

“We are excited that this day is finally becoming a reality,” Denham Springs Elementary Principal Gail DeLee said.

The new 80,000-square-foot, two-story campus was constructed at the school’s original site of 306 N. Range Avenue, near the intersection of Centerville Street in Denham Springs. The new school’s historic-looking brick façade is complemented by modern additions, such as classrooms with dry erase walls, modular seating, natural light, a large cafeteria, a dedicated pre-kindergarten area, and a dedicated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) lab.

The building also includes personal touches, such as honeycomb shaped lighting fixtures, purple and gold design throughout the building, and a large yellowjacket mascot on the wall behind the tiered area that is located near the school’s main entrance. The school’s students provided motivational words to cover walls.

“You know, you think you can get over the emotional end of this after five years, but you just don’t,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. “I was the first one on this campus after it flooded. I saw what was here, and then I see what’s here today. I’m thankful for all those that made that work.”



To avoid losing instructional days when winter weather conditions make travel unsafe early in the morning, the Livingston Parish school system will enact a “late arrival” schedule as necessary during the upcoming months.

Assistant Superintendent Stephen Parrill said the plan on those days may be to delay the start of school by two or three hours – meaning, if a school’s start time is regularly 7 a.m., then it would move to 9 a.m. on a two-hour delay, or to 10 a.m. on a three-hour delay.  The same scenario will be used for bus pick-up times.  The same scenario will be used for bus pick-up times.

Breakfast would not be served on those days, but the schedules for lunch and dismissal would remain the same.

In past years, the district has had to cancel school days due to icy weather conditions, as driving during early mornings on such days can present a safety hazard.

“It is our hope that this plan will allow our students to receive each day of learning they deserve and to do it in a way that creates the least disruption for everyone,” Parrill said.



Career and Technical Education Coordinator Staci Polozola, left, speaks to a classroom full of healthcare professionals, school and university officialss and business leaders who recently toured the healthcare industry programs at Denham Springs High School. The tour was coordinated with State Rep. Buddy Mincey, Jr., seated in the center of the room. Polozola explained how the programs are available at all the district’s high schools, making Livingston Parish the state’s leader in the numbers of students enrolled in healthcare industry certification programs.

State Rep. Buddy Mincey, Jr., is wanting business professionals to know more about the career pathway programs currently available to students in Livingston Parish Public Schools.

That’s why he invited a long list of business professionals, community leaders, university and technical college officials and elected leaders this month to tour various school facilities, hear first-hand from students about their learning experiences and explore ways to grow and expand existing programs.

Mincey hosted a tour of the district’s health care industry programs on Jan. 18, and he will facilitate a second tour focused on film industry programs on Jan. 27.

“Our school system is offering our students greater opportunities and greater access to good, high-paying jobs after graduation.  The more we can engage our industry stakeholders in these efforts, the stronger these programs become and the more opportunities we can offer our students to be better positioned in the workforce,” Mincey said.



The Livingston Parish School Board is asking voters to renew a 10-year 5.0 mill property tax on March 26 that is dedicated to funding parish-wide construction projects, renovations, improvements and the acquisition of school buildings and property.

The dedicated millage has been in place for 70 years.  Voters first created the funding source in 1952 and have supported its renewal ever since.  A vote YES for the renewal will NOT increase the amount of taxes currently paid by taxpayers.

The 5.0 mills generate more than $3.1 million for schools each year. These revenues are the ONLY parish-wide funds dedicated to construction improvements in the school system, and every school community in the parish benefits from these funds.

The renewal proposition will be on the March 26 ballot. Early voting is scheduled for March 12-19, excluding Sunday, March 13.