It’s no secret some Lafayette Parish School Board members have a penchant for playing dumb — especially when it comes to the changes in Act 1 of the 2012 legislative session. But this letter from Louisiana Education Superintendent John White aims to clear the "confusion."

White’s letter, actually a newsletter sent out Tuesday to all parish superintendents statewide, gives a brief recap of last school year’s achievements, and closes with a reiteration of the importance of complying with Act 1.

 John White

A majority of Lafayette Parish’s school board members have had a hard time accepting Act 1, which means a loss of long-held powers that are now bestowed on superintendents. But, the law is the law, and here’s what White says about it:

If we’re going to continue to see such positive outcomes, educators are going to have to be empowered to make decisions for themselves and use the best tools possible to do their jobs well.
That starts with leadership. Superintendents and principals should be free to make decisions about how dollars are spent and how curriculum is designed. They should also be free to make the most important decision of all: which educators are best to serve our students. Act 1 of the 2012 legislative session provides this freedom and remains in full effect as law.

Please see this memo for an explanation of the current status of Act 1 and what it means for hiring, assignment, dismissal, compensation, and reductions in your district. Making these decisions according to the interests of kids and taxpayers is our most important responsibility as leaders.

The memo White references — read all of it here — comes from the state Department of Education and explicitly deals with the component of Act 1 that seems the most difficult to understand for LPSB members Tommy Angelle, Greg Awbrey, Mark Allen Babineaux, Tehmi Chassion and Rae Trahan.

Regarding “Personnel Decisions,” the memo (with our emphasis added) states:

Act 1 also requires that the local superintendent have primary responsibility for all personnel actions in the district. This includes sole responsibility for the hiring and placement of all personnel and the responsibility to determine if the person is qualified for the position. School boards are required by Act 1 to delegate the authority to accomplish these actions to the superintendent.

That doesn’t leave much room for misinterpretation.

For an in-depth look at what's been going on between our school board and superintendent, and what needs to happen, read this fresh-off-the-press IND Monthly analysis.

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