Parish school board takes up hot topics

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 1999

VIDALIA, La. — Two of the Concordia Parish School District’s hottest issues were brought up once again at the school board’s Tuesday meeting:&160;uncertified teachers and the superintendent’s contract.

Board member Eddie Coleman asked for the board’s personnel committee to study how the district could to boost its efforts to recruit certified teachers. &uot;Perhaps we could look at hiring retired teachers&uot;&160;from the surrounding area, he said.

The latest available figures, those for 1998-99, showed that 15 percent of the district’s teachers did not have teaching certificates. Meanwhile, Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman said the district plans to start certification classes in January for uncertified teachers.

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Later, the board voted the board voted to ask board attorney Norman Magee to prepare a final version of Peterman’s contract. A copy of the contract was not released Tuesday because it has not yet been signed.

On Oct. 5, the board selected Peterman as superintendent, replacing James Lee. The board voted earlier this year not to offer Lee a new contract when the old contract expired June 30.

At Peterman’s request, the board also approved a process to develop a five-year strategic plan for the district. He wants a committee of community leaders and those involved with the schools to compose the plan.

Improving instruction, keeping certified teachers, planning for changes in state funding and fixing facilities should be top priorities, Peterman told the board in November.

Later in Tuesday’s meeting, Rose Tillery, president of the Concordia Parish School Bus Drivers Association, asked the board to give bus drivers more reimbursement for expenses. The amount they are paid for expenses was cut by 8 cents per mile several years ago — and they want that 8 cents back, Tillery said.

Since 1986, the last time drivers got an raise in expense payments, the cost of gas has risen 35 percent, she said. Parts for buses have gone up 25 percent, while mechanics’ labor has risen 60 percent. But the board took no action.

Also, the board voted to ask the district’s business director, Tom O’Neal, to write a report on the feasibility of separating the Sales Tax Division from the school district. Separating that division could help the district cut costs, said board member Darrell Crofford.

The board also:

Approved bids from Winnebago Software to install a library automation system for $20,225.65 and from D&A Associates of New Orleans to install bleachers at Monterey High for $24,548.

Held readings of seven proposed policies and adopted four others dealing with computer use and employee substance abuse.

Voted to require a more extensive doctor’s statement from workers asking for additional leave.

Approved four resignations, four appointments, one retirement and five requests for leave.