A Lafayette civic group is urging the school board to hold off on putting a property-tax proposition before voters until a long-term choice for superintendent is in place and school system administrators submit an educational plan that addresses low graduation rates, especially among low-income and minority students, as well as the achievement gap. The group, 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, is also asking the Lafayette Parish School Board to embrace accountability and transparency.
The Lafayette Parish School System’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee last week recommended that the board vote to place a property tax proposition on a fall ballot. Based on the Facilities Master Plan developed by a Baton Rouge planning firm and adopted by the board, Lafayette Parish taxpayers are looking at a $1.1 billion bill to upgrade, renovate and, in some cases, replace aging, dilapidated school facilities. The 21-member COC last week recommended that the board first ask taxpayers to approve a $600 million portion of the overall bill.
In what is at once an open letter to the board and a press release complete with several charts focusing on the lagging graduation rates among low-income and minority students, 100 Black Men makes its case for deferring the tax proposition, referencing research indicating that a 95 percent graduation rate for all students in attainable:
The Citizens’ Oversight Committee of the Lafayette Parish School System voted to recommend a tax proposition for the October or November ballot of this year.
100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette is asking the Lafayette Parish School Board to defer this recommendation until it does the following.
1. Declare who will lead our school system as Superintendent for the long term. Taxpayers deserve to know who will be responsible for the execution of a multi-million dollar facility improvement plan if the tax should pass.
2. Provide the taxpayers an Education Plan that explains how our system will show remarkable improvements in education outcomes to include graduation rates, academic achievement and the closure of the achievement gaps by race and income with yearly benchmarks.
3. Develop and commit to a system of transparency that connects education outcomes to performance and supports accountability through the publication of performance outcomes on the LPSS website.
We encourage our school leaders to reach out to the taxpayers of Lafayette Parish for a timely discussion about expectations over the next five years regarding education outcomes. We believe that this discussion should be led by a Superintendent who is committed to our system for the long term.
Currently, Superintendent Burnell Lemoine is serving on a short-term contract that may or may not be renewed in the coming weeks.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
OCT 22 This entertaining short (15 minutes) film on Munchies is all about Boudin. Thank goodness it's just a documentary-style piece filled with the voices and faces of south Louisiana, as opposed to outsiders waxing poetic about our regional specialties. But be warned, there is some pretty graphic pig butchery going on here, so if you're squeamish it may not be for you.
OCT 22 A state judge threw out the lawsuit of a former employee of the LSU Alumni Association, the Advocate reports here. The employee had claimed the former director of the group gave her a job so she'd have sex with him, and after she left agreed to continue to pay her -- so she'd have sex with him. Apparently you get no points for hutzpah.
OCT 22 Education blogger Mike Deshotels writes about the retraction of the Cowen report in this post. However you slice it, the Recovery School District is still failing, he says. (But Mike, doesn't that depend on what the intention was? If no one ever meant the RSD to fix public education, it's working perfectly, isn't it?)
OCT 22 A major Jindal donor was allowed to avoid the competitive bid process in the purchase of a state office building in Monroe, blogger Tom Aswell reports in this post on Louisiana Voice. The circumstances he lays out here are pretty stinky.
OCT 22 While Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry attempt to fan the flames of Fox Newsian hysteria into viable presidential hopes with talk of building walls to keep out the Ebola, LA Times columnist Mike Hiltzik gives them some national press they probably don't want: if you want to save lives, he says, try accepting Medicaid expansion. Wups!
OCT 22 It's hard to pick out the most interesting part of this post on Mother Jones about Texas lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick (His claim that migrant workers will bring leprosy to Texas? That Connie Chung's show should be called "Slanted Eye to Eye"?) But of course we must go with the comments about our very own Duck people, and how they are the spokesmen for God.
OCT 22 Advocate owner (and rich guy) John Georges must be doing a little happy dance today. As his paper reports here, the Times Picayune is further reducing its footprint in NOLA, by laying off 100 people and moving their printing operations to Mobile. (Yes, Alabama.) Does this mean the Advocate won?
OCT 22 Baton Rouge's downtown is now starting to show significant growth, this post on DIG Baton Rouge reports. With new construction, new restaurants and new housing units popping up, the downtown area is finally starting to look like a capital city, the story says.
OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly