SCHOOL BOARD AWARDS SUPERINTENDENT NEW CONTRACT
The Livingston Parish Public School Board voted unanimously to approve a new two-year contract for Superintendent Joe Murphy at the Feb. 17 meeting, extending his tenure at the district’s helm through June 30, 2024.
The board approved Murphy’s new contract at an annual salary of $137,374.
Louisiana’s law limits the term of a school district superintendent’s contract to not more than two years into a new board term. However, Murphy would have the right to ask for an extension of the new contract anytime during the new contractual period. The new board term begins January 1, 2023, as elections for the four-year seats will be held this fall.
“Mr. Murphy has done an excellent job for us. It has been a hard job over these past few years. It’s been tough on everyone, and especially on him, but he’s lead us through it,” Livingston Parish School Board President Cecil Harris said.
As a district administrator, Murphy led efforts to restore all the schools damaged by the August 2016 flood, including the rebuilding of three substantially damaged schools – Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High. His tasks have included negotiations with FEMA and government officials to determine recovery procedures that were eligible for federal funding. Under his leadership, the district garnered more than $57 million to rebuild the three destroyed schools, as well as more than $4 million more to clean and disinfect the other thirty-nine campuses, increase the district’s number of computers and laptops available to students, and enhance Internet and WiFi service throughout the district.
Murphy led the district’s effort in February 2021 to provide a $1,000 stipend to all full-time employees, and then in the fall of 2021 provided a $1,000 annual increase to all certified personnel and a $500 annual increase to all classified employees, along with a $750 stipend to all employees.
ELECTION MARCH 26: “TIME TO RENEW” 70-YEAR DEDICATED MILLAGE
The Livingston Parish School Board is asking voters to renew a 5-mill ad valorem tax this month that is dedicated to funding parish-wide construction projects, renovations and improvements to all school facilities and property in the parish.
The funding renewal request is not a new tax, and a vote for the proposition will not increase the millage rate paid each year by taxpayers.
“This is an essential school funding source that has enabled the district to maintain its many facilities over the years. Hundreds of projects, large and small, are managed with these funds,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
The proposition will be on the March 26 ballot, with early voting available March 12-19.
Parish voters created the dedicated funding source in 1952 – 70 years ago – and have continually renewed it every 10 years since. The current proposition is also a 10-year renewal, which will allow the funding to remain in place through 2032.
Murphy noted that the dedicated 5 mills generate approximately $3.1 million each year for the district to invest in school facility projects in every community.
KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION OPENS THIS MONTH
Livingston Parish Public Schools will hold “Registration Assistance Days” in March and April for parents of children who will attend kindergarten classes for the 2022-2023 school year.
A child must turn 5 years old on or before Sept. 30, 2022, to be eligible to register for kindergarten. Parents are required to register their child through the district’s PowerSchool registration portal, which can be accessed through links on the district’s homepage at www.lpsb.org or by visiting the district’s New Student Registration page.
A full schedule for Kindergarten Registration Assistance Days is also available online.
Only those children who are not currently enrolled in the district should register or seek assistance with kindergarten registration.
LOCAL EDUCATORS NAMED HUNGER HEROES
“No Kid Hungry Louisiana” has named Seventh Ward Elementary’s duo Leigh Potts and Sherry Wentzel as one of eight Hunger Heroes from across the state who are being honored for their steadfast commitment to ensuring kids have healthy meals available to them.
Wentzel is a special education teacher and Potts is a guidance counselor at Seventh Ward Elementary. The two-person team was nominated by the staff at their school for the “No Kid Hungry Louisiana” 2022 Hunger Heroes award.
“Both ladies work endlessly to ensure that no kids in their school or community go hungry,” said Seventh Ward Elementary Principal Laura Dunlap.
(insert photo – cutline: Pictured left to right, Seventh Ward Elementary’s Leigh Potts and Sherry Wentzel package food items to provide to students at their school who need assistance with having access to nutritious food. Potts and Wentzel were named one of the state’s 2022 Hunger Heroes.)