VOTERS RENEW FUNDING FOR SCHOOL OPERATIONS
Livingston Parish voters overwhelming approved an Oct. 14 proposition with more than 76 percent approval to renew a 10-year, 7.18 mill property tax to continue funding operational costs of all schools in the parish.
The dedicated funding has been on the books since 1979 and makes up one of the district’s largest revenue sources for day-to-day operations. The 7.18 mills are projected to generate more than $3.5 million of the school system’s annual budget.
The monies pay for the salaries and worker benefits of essential staff and employees, including school secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and paraprofessionals. These funds also pay for instructional supplies and equipment for classrooms, administrative supply needs, classroom furniture, day-to-day cleaning supplies and general maintenance needs.
Voters approved the millage renewal by a vote of 7,360 to 2,306 for an approval rate of 76.14 percent.
STATE ACCOUNTABILITY SCORES WON’T BE ISSUED TO LIVINGSTON PARISH BECAUSE OF FLOOD
When the State Department of Education releases its accountability scores this fall for the 2016-2017 school year, Livingston Parish Public Schools will not receive scores or grades because of the amount of days students missed due to the August 2016 flood.
The state accountability system includes a provision that automatically exempts districts from the consequences of school accountability measures if they are closed for 18 consecutive days or more due to a natural disaster or unforeseen occurrence. All Livingston Parish Public Schools were closed for 20 consecutive days following the August 2016 flood.
The state’s accountability scores for elementary and middle schools are based almost solely on LEAP standardized tests, which are given each spring in the third through the eighth grades. Scores for high schools derive equally from four factors: scores on ACT college placement tests, state-developed End-Of-Course exams, four-year graduation rates and a graduation index where schools get the most points for students who take advanced coursework.
Livingston Parish is the only public school district that missed 18 days or more due to the August 2016 flood. East Baton Rouge Parish, which was closed 16 days after the flood, has requested a waiver to exempt some of its schools for this year’s accountability report.
FOURTEEN LIVINGSTON PARISH STUDENTS SELECTED TO ALL-STATE BAND
Those band members selected include: Albany High School’s Katie Miranda, junior, bassoon; Denham Springs High School’s Savannah Cecchini, freshman, flute; Victoria Seeger, junior, clarinet; Bobby Chedville, senior, trumpet; Katie Howard, sophomore, horn; Colby Eisenberg, junior, tuba; and Morgan Lovell, senior, bass clarinet; and Walker High School’s Ethan Archer, senior, clarinet; Peyton Berry, sophomore, clarinet; Kaylee Hibbard, sophomore, trumpet; Aaron Tapalla, freshman, trombone; Logan Yarbrough, junior, euphonium; Christian Noto, junior, tuba; and Brian Harley, senior, percussion.
In order to make the cut, the students had to win the judges’ approval at two highly competitive auditions – one at LSU on Sept. 16, and a second at Pineville High School on Oct. 14. Participants were tasked with performing two prepared pieces and a sight reading piece.
LOCAL STUDENTS COMPETE AT LIVINGSTON PARISH FAIR SPELLING BEE
Ten seventh graders from Livingston Parish took the stage inside the Green Barn on Oct. 9 at the 34th Annual Livingston Parish Fair Spelling Bee to compete for the title of the parish’s top speller.
The event was sponsored by The Livingston Parish News, with publisher and editor McHugh David calling out the words for the students to spell.
North Corbin Junior High’s John Austin Bergeron correctly spelled the words “observatory” and “nursery” to win the contest, edging out his schoolmate Chloe Poissot, also of North Corbin Junior High, and Jake White of Holden, who finished second and third, respectively. Other competitors included Nicholas Parfait and Sydney Henderson of French Settlement; Amira Raddler and Camryn Stewart of Doyle; Chloe Picou and Arlene Herrera of Albany Middle; and Ella Stephens of Holden.
Bergeron was awarded $100, a personal trophy and an additional trophy for his school. Poissot was awarded $75 and a trophy for coming in second place, and White received $50 and a trophy for coming in third.
ENROLLMENT CONTINUES TO REBOUND FROM AUGUST 2016 FLOOD
Superintendent Rick Wentzel announced that Livingston Parish Schools reported an official enrollment of 24,485 for the 2017-2018 year based on the district’s Oct. 1 count. That number is up drastically from the Oct. 1 count of 2016 when so many students were out due to the flood. The number is only about 500 less than what the district had at the start of last school year.
“We’ve got kids still returning to our system. Some families are returning slowly, and the recovery process is still ongoing, but they are coming back. With that said, we also have new kids coming to our parish with the continued residential growth that’s happening in our parish,” Wentzel said.
The State Department of Education designates the beginning of October and February as official enrollment days. Those numbers are used to calculate the vast majority of the funding provided to public schools through the state’s Minimum Foundation Program.
DENHAM SPRINGS HIGH SENIOR NAMED SADD STUDENT OF THE YEAR