Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
Bouillion is a former educator, a republican, and a first-term school board member, elected in 2010.
During his term on the board, Bouillion, unlike many of his fellow board members, has maintained a perfect attendance record, has consistently completed his state-required governance and ethics trainings, and was even nominated by state Rep. Stephen Ortego to serve on a committee charged with developing a Lafayette Parish International High School at UL Lafayette.
Bouillion, during an interview Tuesday with The IND, says his re-election platform centers on fiscal responsibility, pushing for more cooperation between the board and Superintendent Pat Cooper, and continuing the effort to make Lafayette Parish an A-rated school system following last year’s jump from a C to a B rating.
In a press release announcing his re-election bid, Bouillion doesn’t mince words when it comes to where he stands on Cooper's Turnaround Plan and the tiresome antics of some of his fellow board members in their fight with the super:
I am committed to utilizing my experience, fairness and wisdom while serving as your District 5 representative on the school board. Sadly, the majority of recent publicity concerning the school board has been negative ... the result of some board members who have put personal grievances ahead of the educational well-being of our children. I truly believe that every individual who appears before the board deserves dignity and respect. While I have no control over other member’s actions, rest assured I intend to remain a ‘voice of reason’ when dealing with any issue brought before the board. Additionally, I want to reassure you that I am committed to exercising the fiduciary responsibility of spending tax dollars wisely and operating under a balanced budget.
Dr. Pat Cooper was hired to run the Lafayette Parish School System and he must be allowed to do so. I believe school board members should represent the families and children of Lafayette Parish by assisting the superintendant achieve his goals. We must do so cooperatively in order to honor the wishes of those who elected us to serve.
While I will continue to work diligently to improve the quality of education in our Parish, I should stress that it must be done within the confines of a balanced budget, with no smoke, mirrors or magic. I’m currently working to put together a coalition to discuss the feasibility of building a new elementary school on the Southside of the Parish in order to respond to the rapid growth taking place in the Youngsville/Broussard area.
So far, no contenders have stepped forward to challenge Bouillion in the November election, though some have speculated a bid by longtime former District 5 School Board member Mike Hefner.
The IND reached out recently to Hefner, and when asked if his name will appear on November’s ballot, the former three-term board member says he has no plans to challenge Bouillion.
“I did my time,” says Hefner. “I plan on staying involved, but not as a board member. At this point, that’s my plan. I’ll continue to be active but not as an elected official.
School board elections will be held Nov. 4.