Two new principals hired

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

VIDALIA — Thursday, the Concordia Parish School Board hired Sheila Alwood as principal for Ferriday Lower Elementary School and Nancy Anders as principal of Ridgecrest School.

The position at Ferriday Lower was vacated when then Loretta Blankenstein was appointed district superintendent. The appointment is effective today.

The Ridgecrest principal’s appointment will officially go into effect April 24, when Principal Stephanie Blunschi — who has taken sick leave since October — retires.

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Anders and Alwood have served in interim capacities at their respective schools for some time.

The board also voted to have three additional meetings every year with the sole purpose of discussing academics.

“I feel that in the day and time we live in, because of accountability, we need to know what is going in each school,” board member Fred Butcher said. “Right now, we talk about budgets, building and grounds and personnel. Our main thrust should be academics.”

If the board is going to have the extra meetings, they will only be for informational purposes, President Gary Parnham said.

“We don’t want to just put a principal on the spot,” he said.

Board member Ricky Raven said he thought the idea had merit, but he wanted to know how the meetings would be organized.

Blankenstein suggested letting the principals give a presentation about what is going on at their schools, and if the board members had any specific questions they could submit them to the principals later.

In other news:

4Board member Martha Rabb brought a proposal to the board that they replace the local sliding scale gas allowance for contract bus drivers with a Fuelman card — a card that acts as a credit card for gas.

Busses operated by Durham School Services already use a Fuelman card, Rabb said.

“If we’re doing it for one contract, why can’t we do it for those contracts?” she asked.

Blankenstein said the matter has not been brought before the bus committee or the finance committee.

“We have two issues here,” Blankenstein said. “The first is are the bus drivers receiving enough money for gas? The second one is a credit card situation.”

Butcher said he did not feel comfortable making that decision without having the board’s attorney present.

“With Durham, we have a group contract,” Butcher said. “If we gave a fuelman card to the individual contract drivers, would that be contributing to private enterprise?”

The bus committee is scheduled to meet next week, and Blankenstein said the issue should be discussed there before a decision is made.

“We have to be proactive, not reactive,” she said. “I would hope the board would take in the entire financial situation before making the decision.”

Parnham agreed.

“This board cannot act hastily,” he said. “If we do not make good, sound decisions, we’re hurting everybody.”

But school bus driver’s association President Clarence Skipper said he has been down this road before.

“We met last year, and nothing came out of those meetings,” Skipper said.

The board voted to postpone the decision about any adjustments to the way reimbursements is done until after the committee meets.

4The board recognized Monterey High School for receiving $19,500 in reward money for outstanding test scores for the 2006-2007 school year.

Principal Neeva Sibley said approximately half of the money would go to buy playground equipment.

4The board voted to allow the school district to take the necessary steps to get rid of eight aging vehicles it no longer uses.

4The board voted to reimburse schools $1,500 per game in expenses if a sports team makes it to the playoffs.