4 NEW MEMBERS, 5 RETURNING MEMBERS MAKE UP SCHOOL BOARD
Those new and returning members of the Livingston Parish School Board took their oath of office on Jan. 5 to begin their term, which runs from 2023 through 2027.
The four new members include Jeff Frizell, District 3, who ran unopposed; Katelyn Lockhart Cockerham, District 7; Dr. Ronald McMorris, District 8; and Stephen Link, District 9. Returning to office are Brad Sharp, District 1; Kellee Dickerson, District 2; Bradley Harris, District 4; Cecil Harris, District 5; and Jeffery Cox, District 6.
The new board members, after taking their oath of office, presided over their first meeting, which included the election of the board president and vice president. Cecil Harris was elected board president and Cox was named board vice president. Both votes were unanimous.
DISTRICT TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS ON PAY RAISE PROPOSITION
Livingston Parish school leaders will hold five public meeting in February to provide information and answer questions on the Livingston Parish Education Facilities Improvement District’s (EFID) proposal to utilize a parish-wide 1-cent sales tax to fund much-needed pay raises for all district employees.
The school funding proposition will be on the March 25 ballot, with early voting from March 11-18.
The 1-cent sales tax proposal is projected to raise $24 million each year in recurring revenue, allowing the district to give a 10-percent across-the-board pay raise to employees, or a minimum increase of $2,500 per employee. The 1-cent sales tax would NOT apply to purchases made on groceries, prescriptions and gasoline, and all funds will be dedicated to paying salaries.
Public meetings on the Livingston 1-Cent Funding Proposition will be held as follows:
- Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Denham Springs High School cafeteria
- Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Live Oak High School cafeteria
- Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Albany High School cafeteria
- Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Springfield High School library
- Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Walker High School gymnasium, in conjunction with the school’s scheduling fair.
For more information on the Livingston 1-Cent Funding Proposition, visit Livingston1cent.com.
SCHOOL BOARD BANS CRITICAL RACE THEORY
One of the last actions taken in December 2022 by the outgoing school board was the passage of a resolution opposing critical race theory and “other race-based training.” The resolution passed without opposition or public comment.
“Pertinent instruction regarding history of racism and inequality in America should not purport to deliberately undermine race groups, student/family values, religious beliefs, or founding principles,” the Livingston Parish School Board resolution says.
The text also underscores that teachers and other adults employed in the district should not engage in any type of academic materials not explicitly approved by the school board, adding that “political activism has no place in the professional development for teachers, administrators, or other employees and likewise has no place in the instruction given to the children entrusted to our care by the parents of this parish.”
“Our action was to ease the minds of many concerned parents,” said Dr. Devin Gregoire, who made the motion to pass the resolution. “It’s more of a preventative measure. We already had been looking to avoid those pitfalls in our curriculum. We just wanted to put something down as policy to alleviate fears from the parents.”
REGISTRATION & APPLICATION PROCESSES FOR KINDERGARTEN & PRE-K STUDENTS ANNOUNCED
Parents who wish to apply for pre-kindergarten for their child in the upcoming school year should visit applytolppsearlychildhood.com to access the application form and upload the required documents.
Required documentation must be submitted electronically during one of three application rounds – (1) Feb. 1 to May 1, (2) May 16 to June 15, or (3) June 20 and beyond. Parents of Pre-K applicants must upload copies of a certified birth certificate, Social Security card, immunization record, parent/guardian ID, proof of residency (utility bills) and proof of income for every adult in the household.
Parents of Pre-K students needing assistance with their application can visit their child’s home-based school on March 30 between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Hours for Albany Lower Elementary are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Parents of children who will enter Kindergarten in the upcoming school year and who are not currently enrolled in a Pre-K class in Livingston Parish Public Schools should go to www.lpsb.org and click the “Parent Resources” tab to access the registration form and online portal for uploading documents. That portal opens on March 6. The documents required to be electronically submitted include a certified birth certificate, Social Security card, immunization records, parent/guardian ID, and proof of residency (utility bills). A child must have turned 5 years old on or before Sept. 30, 2023, to be eligible to register for kindergarten.
Parents of incoming Kindergarten students will be able to visit their child’s home-based school on March 30 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Those parents visiting Albany Lower Elementary can visit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.