Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
|Photo by Robin May|
|LPSB President Hunter Beasley|
This time, Beasley has set his sights on state Rep. Nancy Landry and a set of bills she’s introduced that could potentially impact the makeup of the Lafayette Parish School Board.
Landry’s bills — which include HB 593, 786, 980 and 1022 — are all focused solely on the Lafayette Parish School Board, and for good reason. According to Landry, our school board is dominated by special interests, and as a result has lost sight of its intended purpose.
Landry’s proposed legislation covers a wide range of issues, like creating a commission to reconsider the makeup of the board as well as restrict the board’s power in terms of personnel issues and its ability to remove a superintendent from office. She’s also seeking to change the school board’s election cycle to line up with gubernatorial elections to help with voter turnout, which for the board members elected this year, would mean a five-year term to catch up with the new cycle.
But Beasley doesn’t like her proposals and has called a special meeting Wednesday for the board to vote on a resolution opposing all of Landry’s bills.
Here’s what Beasley said in an interview with The Daily Advertiser:
Why is it only Lafayette Parish? I guess the main thing is there is no consultation with the school board at all. (Serving) the five years wouldn’t be a big issue to me if that was the law, but I’m opposing this based on other reasons.
Beasley’s stint as school board president has largely been consumed by non-education related issues — like hiring security for board meetings, eliminating the DA’s office as the board’s free legal counsel and his push to hire a firm partial to the board’s interests — so his decision to convene tonight’s special meeting just for a vote to formally oppose Landry’s bills isn’t all too surprising.
Instead of asking, “Why is it only Lafayette?” a better question for Beasley may be, “Why is J.W. Faulk Elementary still an F-rated school?” And what about the other 10 schools with a D letter grade? That alone is reason enough for board members like Beasley to drop the fight with Superintendent Pat Cooper and start working toward the real issues affecting the Lafayette Parish School System.
Had the board kept its focus on Cooper's Turnaround Plan, it wouldn't have a single reason to call a special meeting tonight.