ATTENTION: Open House information has now been uploaded to the school board website.
P.O. Box 7117 | Alexandria, La 71306 | Phone: 318-487-0888 | Fax: 318 449-3167 This page is governed by the community, for the community.
ATTENTION: Open House information has now been uploaded to the school board website.
If you or anyone you know is qualified and interested, please apply!
The Rapides Parish School Board is searching for 14 full-time school bus operators, as a new school year draws near.
Congratulations on a career well served!!!
Congratulations to MGySgt Carlie "Top" Davis on a well deserved retirement! After 27 years at ASH and 53 in service to the Marine Corps... "At ease, sir."
Master Gunnery Sergeant Davis received a letter of appreciation from W.F. Mullen, III of the United States Marine Corps upon his retirement. Excerpts are included below. (It is well worth the read to honor our very own national hero.) #TrojandomiNATION #USMC
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your years of service to the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Office Training Corps (MCJROTC). Your service to the Marine Corps spans a period of over 53 years. You enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 1966 and served for 26 years on active duty both in the infantry and in the intelligence fields, including two tours of duty in Vietnam...
As an MCJROTC Instructor for the past 27 years, you have impacted the lives of over 3,500 cadets and through your example, leadership, and service influenced 253 to become members of the United States Armed Forces...As a teacher at Alexandria Senior High School, you have been nominated twice for the prestigious "Golden Apple" Teacher of the Year Award...
You have had the rare opportunity to teach and influence multiple generations of families. The fact that students in the early part of your teaching career encouraged their own children to participate in MCJROTC speaks volumes of the role model that you are. Most importantly is the respect you have earned from the administration, teachers, families, and cadets you have impacted over the past 27 years...
Archibald Henderson, known as the "Grand Old Man of the Marine Corps", served 52 years and 7 months. Your combined service to the Marine Corps and Marine Corps JROTC spans a period of 53 years and 3 months. Congratulations Master Gunnery Sergeant Davis.
Congratulations to Mr. Powell on his victory tonight! We hope he brings the change needed for this district!
#BREAKING: After a 6-3 vote, Jeff Powell is the new Rapides Parish Superintendent.
FIXING ARTHUR F. SMITH: Dehumidifiers and purifiers are keeping moisture issues at bay inside Arthur F. Smith Middle Magnet School, while Rapides Parish board members and administration continue to search for a permanent solution before summer vacation runs out.
UPCOMING SCHOOL BOARD MEETING ITEMS:
1. The Superintendent has submitted his resignation to the Board. The Board will accept it and begin the process of seeking a new Superintendent.
2. The Sales Tax stipend amount will be announced. The payment will be issued on May 22, 2019.
3. The Superintendent is still asking the Board to hire a Public Information Officer. The last time this was brought, Board members stated that he and the two Asst. Supt.’s were capable of disseminating information to the public. Other Board members stated that the process was not being properly executed. Dr. Chapman asked him to include this in his request for upcoming staffing (which will take place at this meeting).
4. Central Office is asking the Board to add nine new positions: Social Emotional Coaches (7), Behavior Strategist (1), and an Elementary Counselor (1). These positions would total an additional $380,000.00 per year.
5. The Employee Raise for 3% was not added to the agenda. The Superintendent stated that the District could not afford a raise for all employees at this time.
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers
Did you know Education is one of Raising Cane's areas of focus? And, we love celebrating our teachers! On May 7th from 6-9pm, teachers and faculty receive one free Box Combo when you present your current school I.D.
AS REQUESTED: We were asked to provide some insight on the upcoming vote regarding the insurance proposal. The School Board currently provides insurance to its employees through Office of Group Benefits (OGB). The benefit of being a part of this large group is that rates are substantially lower because insurance companies “compete” for the business from the group (which holds millions of members in one group). The downside of this is that members and companies have little-to-no input or control over rates, coverage, and benefit options.
OGB informed its members that there would be an 11% increase in rates soon (5.5% per year for the next two years). This prompted the School Board to hire a consulting firm to research and report the costs and benefits of leaving the group. The consultants (Babcock) informed the Board that there is an option that would provide the same level of coverage for the current rate and, also, provide life insurance to its active employees at no cost. United Healthcare has offered a plan customized for the Rapides Parish School Board that matches the coverage and rates currently provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Additionally, if employees vote to change providers, the School Board will be able to provide Life Insurance to all of its active employees at NO COST to them. The amounts of the complimentary coverage is whatever the employee’s current salary is, up to $50,000.00. There are also options for the employees to upgrade their Life Insurance up to $200,000.00 at a much lower rate than currently offered.
Six meetings will be held throughout the district to provide more information and answer questions by all affected. Information on the meetings will be mailed to each participant. The school board must have a majority vote by its employees to leave OGB; thus, the School Board is working diligently to provide information and answer all questions prior to the vote.
This matter is TIME SENTITIVE, so votes must be submitted by May 1, 2019.
If you have questions, please attend one of the following meetings:
April 29- Pineville High School @ 3:30 and 6:30
April 30- Alexandria Senior High @ 3:30 and 6:30
May 1- Tioga High School @ 3:30 and 6:30
Next week Rapides Parish School employees and retirees will have a chance to vote to stay with their current health insurance plan, or switch to a new proposed plan, exclusive to the district.
Decisions by the Board in the April 2, 2019 meeting:
1. The motion to approve the job descriptions for the CFO and two Exec. Asst. Supt’s passed 5-4 (Franklin, McMahon, McCall, and Barrios voted against)
a. Mr. Barrios asked if the work requirements of these positions had increased and Superintendent Authement stated “no.”
b. Mrs. Franklin asked how much the amounts of these raises were for the new job titles and neither the Superintendent nor CFO could recall the amounts. Mrs. Domite (CFO) stated that she did not have that information with her. Mrs. Franklin asked that they administration provide that information and make it available.
c. We searched and the salaries for the Superintendent, Executive Assistant Superintends, and CFO are not listed on the school board’s website; however, the salary for every other position is.
2. The Board unanimously voted to approve the TAP model for next year.
a. Mable Brasher, Alexandria Middle, and Pineville Elementary will be pulling out.
b. The principals at the other schools asked to keep the program.
c. Mrs. Bennett stated that Master Teachers at the pulled schools would either be reassigned to TAP schools with Master Teacher vacancies or go back to the classroom as a teacher.
d. Mrs. Franklin stated that the Board was no informed that Lessie Moore pulled out of TAP. Mrs. Bennett stated that they pulled at the beginning of the school year.
e. Under the new payout model, stipends will be determined by SPS scores instead of teacher evaluations.
3. Mr. Barrios made a substitute motion to move the conversation to the May committee meetings and require the superintendent to provide a written account of why or why not the district could/could not afford the 3% increase.
a. Attorney Ingrid Johnson stood and stated that she was “disappointed” that the board did not need to delay or find the funds for the raises given to the three upper-level administrators. She stated that this was “not fair” to the employees.
4. The Board voted 8-1 (Breazeale voted no) on Option 2 for Arthur F. Smith which will repair all issues at the school.
a. Mr. McCall asked that they approve to address the immediate issues first (Phase 1) and deal with the rest at time passes.
b. Many community members stood to support the school remaining open.
c. Attorney Ingrid Johnson reminded the Board that the same thing was brought up last year, just before Standardized testing. She also asked that when issues affect that area and are anticipated to draw large community support, that the Board move the meetings to a sizeable location to allow the community to have a voice instead of having to stand in the hallway, outside of the meeting.
i. Approximately fifty people were made to remain in the hallway because of capacity issues.
d. Dr. Chapman asked Mrs. Domite if there was funding for this. Mrs. Domite stated that District 62 is projected to have more than $2,000,000 at the end of the fiscal year. Dr. Chapman asked Mr. Rachal if initiating phase 1 now would ensure that the work was completed before the next school year. Mr. Rachal stated that it was “possible.”
e. Mrs. White, principal of A.F. Smith, stated that they did not want to move to Peabody and wanted everything repaired. She stated that they could move students to wings that were not affected until the work was completed.
f. State Representative Ed Larvadain stated that he has "lost confidence in the superintendent."
5. Bolton’s Auditorium received a substitute motion to only allocate $70,000 to address the immediate needs.
a. Mr. Rachal stated that no one is allowed on Bolton’s stage and he has “the keys in his office.”
b. Mr. Rachal and Mr. Authement stated that the Coughlin Saunders center has agreed to allow the conservatory to use their stage until Bolton’s stage is repaired.
c. Dr. Chapman asked how many students were enrolled in the conservatory and Mr. Authement stated, “About 50.”
d. Mr. Breazeale stated that this repair, as well as the repairs at A.F. Smith, would bring the District 62 fund down to about $1,000,000 at the end of the year. He went on to say that everyone wants the best for their schools, but we have to think about the other schools as well.
Teachers protest maintenance issues at Arthur F. Smith
Arthur F. Smith Middle Magnet School teachers protested for change Monday, many upset about a recent proposal to close the school.
As requested by many, this is a brief overview of some important topics to be discussed and voted on at the next school board meeting (4/2/2019):
1. A motion to approve the three administrative job descriptions, which will finalize the initiative to increase the salaries and promote the Chief Financial Officer (formerly Director of Finance), the Executive Assistant Superintendent of Administration (formerly Asst. Supt. of Admin.), and the Executive Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
a. Under the recommendation, supervision of Principals and instructional staff (i.e. Elem., Middle, and Secondary Directors, etc.) will be directed to Mrs. Bennett instead of Mr. Washington. Historically, the primary purpose of the Asst. Supt. of Administration was to supervise administrators. The proposal is to change that oversight to the other Assistant.
2. A motion to approve the Supt.’s recommendation to change the TAP model beginning next year.
a. He recommends that three schools be removed from the TAP model. This comes after the Central Office administration polled school teachers and leaders about their interests moving forward.
b. His recommendation is to support the decision of the leaders and teachers in each individual school. This would allow schools that are in favor of the TAP model to continue.
3. A motion by Mr. Barrios to grant a 3% raise for all employees.
a. The Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer stated in the Committee meeting that the funds are not present and could not be found to grant the raise to all employees (approx. $4,000,000).
b. Interesting Fact: Central Office Administration’s salaries make up 2% of the entire General Fund budget for salaries. This is almost as much as what is currently paid to all clerical staff across the district (combined) and
four times as much as the school board pays all of its nurses.
4. A motion by Mr. Keith Breazeale to review options and costs to address the situation at Arthur F. Smith.
a. According to the documents attached to the agenda, Options 1 and 2 would COST the district more than $2,300,000 each. Option 3 (closing the school and moving the students to Peabody), would SAVE the district approximately $600,000.
b. Ironically, this time last year, Central Office was proposing to close A.F. Smith.
c. Interesting fact: The issues on Arthur Smith’s campus has been well documented and unresolved by Mr. Rachal, but the district is in the process of spending almost $1,000,000 to renovate Bolton’s campus for their new Performing Arts Conservatory. There is also a motion by Mr. Rachal to allocate an additional $498,000 to Bolton to bring their auditorium up to standard.
RPSB reorganizes administration charts, gives salary bumps
Back in December, the Rapides Parish School Board passed a motion to reorganize positions of their district administration. After the motion was passed, viewers urged us to look into the salary bumps that came with two of the reorganized positions. Allison Bazzle takes a look at those numbers and a....
RPSB releases statement regarding threat at Alexandria Senior High
Superintendent Nason Authement released a statement Sunday night regarding a threat at Alexandria Senior High School.
FYI: February is Open Enrollment month for Rapides Parish! Contact your school for information and paperwork if you are interested in participating!
UPDATE: The school board met tonight and we can update you on the topics covered in our last post.
NIET Payout: According to the Finance Director, payout from last year will be dispersed this week. The board approved it, so, according to the Director, teachers should see their payouts on Friday, February 8, 2019.
NIET Agreement: Mr. Breazeale put forth a substitute motion to allow central office more time to gather information and evidence to either recommend the continuation or termination of this agreement. The motion passed. Central office is to present their recommendation to the board at the next committee meeting.
Public Information Officer: Dr. Chapman’s research revealed that this position has not been used since the 1990s (when the magnet programs were rolled-out). Mrs. Franklin suggested that these funds could be “better used.” Mr. McCall stated that the board already employs three informational officers: Mr. Authement, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Washington. Ultimately, Dr. Chapman successfully put forth a substitute motion that required central office to add this position to their upcoming staffing recommendation.
KINETIX: Mr. Breazeale stated that this matter had already been explained in the committee meeting. Dr. Chapman stated, “We’re putting the cart before the horse. Companies don’t come to us with a product and say, ‘you need this and this is what we’re gonna charge you for it.’” Mrs. McMahon and Mrs. Franklin both asked if we needed to pay a company to manage this. Dr. Chapman made multiple motions, but the motion approved moved this item to committee and required central office to prove the need, set a budget, and open it for public bids, should the board agree with the need. An educator did rise to defend this, stating that unless the board hired someone to exclusively manage Facebook, it would be too much for one person.
FYI: Tomorrow, the RPSB will be acting on a long list of items. A few of the more controversial items are the NIET payout, NIET agreement termination, the proposal for a new position (Public Information Officer), and a new agreement with a firm to manage its social media. While we generally refrain from posting our opinions on matters, we would like to clarify both sides of some of these issues to enlighten those that may not understand.
NIET Payout: These funds were earned by educators that worked in TAP or BPC schools last year. The funds come from a grant called the TIF (teacher incentive fund) Grant that was awarded to the district a few years ago. This money can ONLY be used for its purpose. The list of names and amounts that was published was a result of a request by the Board. The money is often delayed because VAM (value added measure) was recently brought back by the State Dept. This is basically the State’s calculation on how well a teacher grew their students. NIET must wait on the State to release this data to compute it with their data and determine the figures that were listed. Teachers were told that they would either receive monies in December or January. Subsequently, it was determined that the Board, as a formality, had to vote to release the payout, which will happen tomorrow night.
NIET Agreement: Dr. Chapman has placed on the agenda to consider terminating the agreement with NIET/TAP/BCP altogether. Tomorrow is the opportunity for opponents and proponents to voice their positions. According to the agreement, either party can terminate this agreement with thirty days’ notice.
Public Information Officer: The superintendent is proposing that the Board add this position. This proposal is not coming for the Board, but rather being requested. This is separate from his request to hire Kinetix to manage social media. These are two SEPARATE requests. The starting pay for this position would be a minimum of $46,395/year plus benefits.
KINETIX: This is a proposal from a local company to manage the School Board’s social media across all platforms. It appears that this will be the “proposed” tool that the Public Information Officer would use. This, again, is SEPARATE from the new position request. The desire is to both hire this firm and add a new position to manage all communication with the media.
OPINION: Most of the controversy stems from the superintendent communicating that the board does not have enough money to issue stipends/bonuses to all employees. For multiple years, board members, teachers, union reps, and community activists have appealed to central office to find funds and means to provide employees with consistent and meaningful Christmas stipends. We realize that when multiplied by the massive number of employees that the board employs, that feat is quite sizeable! The conflict appears to be priority. The Federal, State and Local governments all agree that pay in Education is nowhere close to fair. This is nothing new. In recent times (however) we are seeing walkouts, boycotts and strikes from educators to get increases in pay. The general assumption has been that central office was working diligently to find funding to help close the wage gap in its system. But when employees are told that additional funding is just not there, and then the board appropriates $250,000.00 to a school to start a new conservatory, issues substantial pay raises to two of its highest-level employees, and then proposes to hire both a marketing firm and PIO, we understand why employees are offended. It’s like trying to explain to your child why you couldn’t afford a birthday party this year while on your way to the Bahamas (maybe not the best analogy, but you get the point). The argument can certainly be made for these two items, but in a time where transportation claims to have severe shortages, school buildings are not up to standard, and employee pay falls in the bottom half of the State average, we don’t feel that this is the best allocation of assets. Especially when the Technology Department has thirteen employees available.
We sit in almost every board meeting and hear the same thing: “We wish the public would come out and voice their opinions.” If you really want to be heard, you must speak out. If you cannot speak at a board meeting, you can always call or email your board member to express your views on upcoming items. We encourage everyone to contact their local board member and let them consider your viewpoints and ideas. We are attaching documents relative to what we wrote in this post and contact info for the board members.
619 6th St
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