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.
NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly