CPSB powerless to staff changes

Published 12:04 am Monday, June 15, 2015

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish board members have no power to change personnel decisions made by Superintendent Paul Nelson, despite the recent uproar over such changes, members of the school board’s personnel committee said.

The school board’s personnel committee consists of Ronnie Bradford, Mary Campbell and Ricky Raven.

“I’m concerned about the committee. I’m concerned about the school system because I feel personally that our system has been murdered. Our superintendent is the murderer and we are the accomplice and our children are going to suffer from it,” Campbell said during Thursday’s board meeting. “I really hope my fellow board members think about what is happening with our children in the community.”

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Administration changes included moving Rick Brown, principal at Vidalia High School to be principal at Ferriday Lower Elementary; moving Charles Anderson, principal at Vidalia Lower Elementary, to be principal at Vidalia High School; moving Ariana Davis, principal at Ferriday Junior High School, to be principal at Vidalia Lower Elementary; and moving to Bobbie Hinson, principal at Ferriday Lower Elementary, to be principal at Ferriday Junior High School.

Jana Lincecum, assistant principal at Vidalia High School, is also being moved to be assistant principal at Monterey High School; and Elizabeth Walker, assistant principal at Monterey High School, is being moved to be assistant principal at Vidalia High School.

Those changes will be effective July 1.

A group of Vidalia residents is leading an effort to present a petition to Nelson and the Concordia Parish School Board opposing those changes.

School board member Ricky Raven made the motion to allow the Vidalia group to be added to the agenda of last Thursday’s meeting. He made a same motion, asking that another group, calling itself We Care, also be added to last Thursday’s agenda.

However, both of those motions failed. In order to be added to an agenda, rules require a unanimous vote of the board members. The vote on both motions was 7-1, with all school board members except Fred Butcher, voting in favor of adding the groups to the agenda. Butcher voted against both motions. School board president Raymond Riley abstained from voting on both motions.

Board members who voted in favor of the decision were Warren Enterkin, Ronnie Bradford, Cheryl Probst, John Bostic, Jeffery Goodman, Campbell and Raven.

Instead, the school board is calling a special meeting on Thursday, June 18, at 6 p.m. when it will hear the issues both groups want to discuss.

“I just feel like the public needs to address the board if there is an issue of concern,” Bradford said. “We would like for the public to voice their opinion.”

Campbell said moving administrators from school to school could take three to five years for a school to catch back up to a satisfactory level.

“We are already having problems with the schools in the parish,” Campbell said. “It’s unfair to the children and that’s my main concern — the children.”

Raven, who serves on the personnel committee with Campbell and Bradford, said they are only updated on personnel changes Nelson makes, but they cannot challenge his decisions.

“Board members can appoint the superintendent but they don’t have any power over them,” Raven said. “I wanted to figure out a way to let tax payers be able to discuss their issues.”

Although attempts to reach Nelson were unsuccessful Friday, he has previously reported that administration changes were made throughout the parish to develop new ideas in new locations.

Brown, the former Vidalia High School principal, served as principal at Vidalia High School for 17 years.

He has 38 years of experience in the high school field.

“Just think about Mr. Brown with those kids,” Campbell said. “We are supposed to be doing what is best for the children. They are the future and if we don’t do what’s right for them now, they will suffer. With all the administration changes around the parish, nothing has been done to help the children.”