The public has spoken, and it’s ready for more accountability, better allocation of resources and a “shared vision” between the Lafayette Parish School Board, education officials and stakeholders in Lafayette Parish.
The results of the school system’s online surveys and six public forums held to gauge public input on the search for a new superintendent were compiled by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and released recently in a 30-page report, days before the Lafayette Parish School Board met Tuesday and narrowed down the superintendent search pool to 10 applicants.
The analysis provided by the UL Communication Department shows that the public was asked four basic questions:
What does the public perceive as the most important problems faced by schools in Lafayette Parish?
What does the public perceive as the top priority of the new superintendent?
What should be the professional qualifications of the incoming superintendent, as perceived by the public?
What should be the human qualities of the incoming superintendent, as perceived by the public? Poor school board/superintendent governance
Both participants in the focus groups and respondents to the survey highlighted a wide variety of problems. Some of these problems seemed to recur more often. Overall, there were four major areas that generated concerns: Resource management, communication with stakeholders, and participation, student performance, and students’ quality of life
Overall, 405 respondents logged into the survey site, although only 218 (53.8%) finished the survey. Of all those who started the survey 57.1% (n = 230) were parents, while the rest were not. The vast majority of those who answered the gender question (n = 202) were female (73.8%, n = 149).
Although most income levels were represented, those of higher household income seemed to be overrepresented. Thus, 40.4% reported incomes above $80,000 and 19.1% reported incomes between $60,000 and $80,000.
Although the polls were designed to gauge what the public wants to see in a new super, the UL report dually serves as an outlet for the public to give its biggest gripes (more than a dozen strong) on the direction of public education in Lafayette Parish.
Read the report here .
The 10 superintendent applicants will be interviewed at future public meetings in this order:
-Gary Jones, Rapides Parish School System
-Katie Landry, Lafayette Parish School System
-Wayne Alexander, Hartford, Conn., Public schools
-Craig A. Fiege, Canton, Mich., Community schools
-Don Aguillard, St. Mary Parish School System
-Sheila Guidry, Louisiana Department of Education
-Luis Gonzales, Harrisburg, Pa., Central Dauphin School District
-Pat Cooper, New Orleans Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation
-Maria Pitre-Martin, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
-Walter Gonsoulin Jr., Starkville, Miss., School District