Lafourche Parish School District, Louisiana

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Lafourche Parish School District
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Lafourche Parish School District logo.PNG
District Profile
Superintendent:Jo Ann Matthews
Enrollment:14,323
Graduation rate:81.4%[1]
Number of schools:29
Budget: $170.2 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Rhoda Caldwell
Board members:15
Term length:4 years
Lafourche Parish Public Schools is a school district in Louisiana. In the 2011-2012 school year, Lafourche Parish was the 15th-largest school district in Louisiana and served 14,323 students.[2]

About the district

Lafourche Parish Public Schools is located in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.
Lafourche Parish Public Schools lies in southeastern Louisiana in Lafourche Parish. The seat of parish government is Thibodaux. Lafourche Parish was home to approximately 97,141 residents according to 2013 estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[3]

Demographics

Lafourche Parish underperformed compared to the rest of Louisiana in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 15 percent of Lafourche Parish residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 21.4 percent for Louisiana as a whole. The median household income for the parish was $50,574 compared to $44,673 statewide. The poverty rate in the parish was 14.5 percent compared to 18.7 percent for the entire state.[3]

Racial Demographics, 2013[3]
Race Lafourche Parish (%) Louisiana (%)
White 80.9 63.5
Black or African American 13.5 32.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 2.9 0.8
Asian 0.9 1.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 4.2 4.7

Presidential Voting Pattern,
Lafourche Parish[4]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 9,623 28,592
2008 9,662 27,089
2004 14,417 22,734
2000 14,627 18,575

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[5]

Superintendent

The superintendent of Lafourche Parish School District is Jo Ann Matthews who was appointed to the position on January 1, 2006. She is the first woman to serve as superintendent in the district. Prior to her appointment, she worked as a special education teacher, assistance principal, principal, supervisor of personnel and interim superintendent in the district. She graduated from Thibodeaux High School in 1981.[6]

School board

Lafourche Parish School District is overseen by a school board comprised of 15 partisan members who are elected to represent geographical districts for four-year terms. The partisan affiliation in the table below represents the affiliation which the officeholder held in his or her most recent election.

Lafourche Parish School District
Member District Partisan
Affiliation
Term
Began
Term
Ends
Louis E. Thibodaux 1 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 1999 December 31, 2018
Rhoda Caldwell 2 Democratic Democratic Party N/A December 31, 2014
Richmond "Rev" Boyd Jr. 3 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
Marian Fertitta 4 Republican Republican Party January 1, 2011 December 31, 2018
Stella C. Lasseigne 5 Democratic Democratic Party N/A December 31, 2014
Gregg P. Stall 6 Republican Republican Party January 1, 2011 December 31, 2018
Gary Foret 7 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
Ronald Pere 8 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
Julie Breaux 9 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
Dennis "Jean" Chiasson 10 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
Clyde "Joey" Duplantis III 11 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2011 December 31, 2018
Ann Bouvier Sanamo 12 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2011 December 31, 2018
Al Archer 13 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
Larry Pitre 14 Democratic Democratic Party N/A December 31, 2014
Lawrence Mounic 15 Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018

School board elections

See also: Lafourche Parish School District elections (2014)

The 15 school board members are elected concurrently by district in partisan elections. This means that regular school board elections are held every four years with all members being up for re-election at that time. Additionally, all members are elected by a geographically defined district which they represent. Fifteen seats were up for general election on November 4, 2014. The next general election will be in November 2018.

School board candidates in Louisiana are elected by majority vote, which means the winner must receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the general election to win the seat. Runoff elections are held between the top two candidates for races where no candidate receives a majority. Candidates who are unopposed at the end of a candidate filing period are considered elected as of that date.[7]

Any member who at the end of his or her term has served more than two and one-half terms in the last three consecutive terms cannot be re-elected in the following term. However, they can be re-elected following the one term break. These term limits take effect with terms beginning on or after January 2015 and does not apply retroactively to terms started prior to that date.[7]

Public participation in board meetings

The Lafourche Parish School Board maintains the following policies on public testimony during board meetings on their website:

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

It is the policy of the Lafourche Parish School Board to conduct all meetings in full view of and with welcomed participation by the public. A public comment period shall be held before the Board discussion (if any) relative to an agenda item and before any vote is taken on a motion made in reference to an agenda item.

The Lafourche Parish School Board recognizes its obligations ordinarily to have open meetings as well as to promote efficiency of its meetings. To achieve this goal, the Lafourche Parish School Board recognizes that its rules regarding public comment must be content-neutral and may only relate to such matters as time, place and manner of a speaker's comment. The Board recognizes that it has the unquestioned right to control disruptive conduct by members of the public. However, the Board realizes that it may neither exclude specified groups of speakers nor may it categorically prohibit discussion of certain matters.

REQUEST FOR ITEM TO BE PLACED ON AGENDA BY INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS

All delegations or individuals who wish to appear before the School Board shall submit their requests as follows:

A. All topics or items that an individual or a group wishes to place on the School Board's agenda shall be typed and received in the Superintendent's office one week (five working days) before the scheduled meeting.
B. The Advisory Committee of the Board shall review the topics and ascertain whether these topics or items are proper for placement on the Board’s agenda. The committee will consider the following:
(1) Does the topic or item have an educational purpose or is within the jurisdiction of the Board?
(2) Is the topic or item covered by a policy or procedure of the Board, or law of the State of Louisiana, such that consideration of the topic or item would circumvent the policy, procedure, or law or violate the administrative process?
(3) Is this a matter that should be properly referred to a standing committee of the Board for consideration before referral to the full Board?
(4) Any other relevant factor that might be determinative of the decision to add the topic or item to the agenda.

The decision of the Advisory Committee to deny a request to place an item or topic on the Board’s agenda shall be in writing, and this decision shall be made part of the School Board record.

Nothing herein shall prevent a Board Member from requesting that an item be placed on the Board’s agenda. No Board member shall be denied the right to have an item placed on the published agenda of a Board meeting. (See Policy BCBD).

PUBLIC COMMENT

There shall be a five-minute time limit imposed on any speaker or group. The Board by a two-thirds vote may extend this time limit.

Individuals addressing the Board shall not use “Fighting Words” and “Obscene Words” which are defined as follows:

A. "Fighting words" - Words which by their very utterance inflict injury or intent in sight of the immediate breach of peace. Such words do not constitute an essential part of an exposition of ideas nor exhibit any social value. Any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the greater social interest in order and morality.
B. "Obscene words" - Topics will be considered obscene if the average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the topic taken as a whole appeals to prurient interests; or if the topic would depict or describe in a patently offensive way sexual conduct defined by the applicable state law; or if the topic taken as a whole would lack serious literary, artistic, or scientific value in view of the School Board's mission.

The President of the Board shall read the following statement at Board meetings to each speaker or group whose request to address the Board is included on the agenda:

The Lafourche Parish School Board has approved your request to address the Board. Your comments, however, will be allowed under the rules and regulations of a non-public forum that governs the time, manner and place. Board policy states that you are allowed five (5) minutes. Additional time may be approved by a vote of the Board. Finally, you are asked to not name, criticize, or question the professional competence of any employee publicly since this would violate his/her due process rights.

The President of the Board may recognize persons at the Board meetings for the purpose of introducing such persons. However, such a person is not entitled to take up business before the Board unless the item in which he/she is interested has been placed on the agenda of that meeting or unless a motion to permit such a person to take up business before the Board is approved by unanimous consent of the Board members present. The right to address the Board is not an invitation to debate Board members on certain issues. The Board, in its discretion, may address questions to persons who address the Board after the presentation is completed.

Political candidates shall not be allowed to address the Lafourche Parish School Board in view of obtaining support. The Board takes its responsibilities seriously to maintain its meetings with a strict nexus to the mission of the educational needs of its students. Thus, any item on the agenda that would not fulfill this fiduciary duty shall not be considered. However, political candidates will be welcome to mix with Board members and assembled people before, at recess, and after Board meetings.

BLUE CARDS

Members of the public who wish to speak on agenda items at a Board meeting may do so by:

A. Completing a speaker card and submitting it to the official recorder prior to the opening of the meeting. Speakers shall be recognized in the order in which cards are submitted.
B. When an individual has been recognized to speak on an agenda item, that individual shall limit his/her comments to matters that are strictly relevant to that agenda item. The President reserves the right to stop any comments when deemed necessary.
C. There shall be a five-minute time limit imposed on any speaker or group.

In the event that the Board should add an item to its agenda after the Board meeting begins, the Board President shall orally request of the audience whether anyone in attendance would like to speak on the added agenda item. Each person indicating a desire to do so shall be given an opportunity to address the Board on each agenda item added. The Board shall delay deliberations on that agenda item until such time as all interested members of the public have had an opportunity to speak.[8]

—Lafourche Parish School District website, (2013), [9]

Budget

The table below displays the budget for the Lafourche Parish Public Schools:[10]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2012-2013 $85,675,296 53.5% $12,172,040 7.6% $47,564,166 29.7% $12,530,910 7.8% $2,130,704 1.3% $160,073,116
2013-2014 $83,988,378 42.2% $12,674,138 6.4% $45,546,252 22.9% $53,208,669 26.7% $3,595,250 1.8% $199,012,687
2014-2015 $119,412,846 70.2% $13,239,002 7.8% $16,216,330 9.5% $15,629,585 9.2% $5,672,700 3.3% $170,170,463
Averages: $96,358,840 55% $12,695,060 7% $36,442,249.33 21% $27,123,054.67 15% $3,799,551.33 2% $176,418,755.33

Teacher salaries

Teacher salaries in Lafourche Parish School District are categorized based on higher education achievement and years of service. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate courses with raises at credit intervals. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees. Additionally, teachers can receive merit pay based on an evaluation of their effectiveness.[11]

The following table details the salary schedule for teachers in the 2013-2014 school year:[11]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
B.A. 40,000 49,000
M.A. 44,700 53,700
M.A. + 30 45,200 54,200
Specialist 45,900 54,900
Ph.D. or Ed.D 46,700 55,700

Schools in Lafourche Parish School District

Enrollment

Lafourche Parish School District served 14,323 students in the 2011-2012 school year.[2] The district does not publicly archive enrollment data.

District schools

Lafourche Parish School Distric operates 29 schools listed below in alphabetical order:

Lafourche Parish School District
School Name
A-L M-Z
Bayou Blue Elementary School North Larose Elementary School
Bayou Blue Middle School Raceland Lower Elementary School
Bayou Boeuf Elementary School Raceland Middle School
Career Magnet Center Raceland Upper Elementary School
Central Lafourche High School Sixth Ward Middle School
Chackbay Elementary School South Lafourche High School
Cut Off Elementary School South Larose Elementary School
East Thibodaux Middle School South Thibodaux Elementary School
Galliano Elementary School St. Charles Elementary School
Golden Meadow Lower Elementary School Thibodaux Elementary School
Golden Meadow Middle School Thibodaux High School
Golden Meadow Upper Elementary School W.S. Lafargue Elementary School
Larose-Cut Off Middle School West Thibodaux Middle School
Lockport Lower Elementary School
Lockport Middle School
Lockport Upper Elementary School

Academic performance

Louisiana administers three main sets of tests to measure the academic performance of K-12 students: DIBELS Next, iLEAP and End-of-Course tests. Additionally, districts are given a letter ranking of A-F based on performance across all grades of students.

DIBELS Next

The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test, also known as DIBELS Next, is administered to K-3 students statewide. The test places students into one of three categories. Those who meet the benchmark levels are placed in the "core" category, indicating they only need core reading curriculum going forward. The other two categories indicate students who need "strategic" or "intensive" intervention in reading education. The following chart outlines the percentage of students in the district in each of the categories:[12]

DIBELS Next results[13]
Testing date Kindergarten 1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade
Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%)
Spring 2013 66 22 11 49 16 35 56 21 23 60 17 23
Fall
2012
62 16 22 69 14 17 67 13 20 61 13 26
Spring 2012 71 20 9 52 17 30 59 21 21 58 17 25
Fall
2011
55 20 25 70 12 18 61 15 23 62 12 27

iLEAP and LEAP

LEAP and iLEAP percentile ranks[13]
Year Mastery and
above (%)
Basic and
above (%)
2014 District 23 71
Statewide 24 69
2013 District 22 71
Statewide 23 66
2012 District N/A 68
Statewide N/A 68

Louisiana 3rd through 8th grade students statewide are tested annually in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. These tests are called iLEAP and LEAP.

On both tests, students can earn the following scores:

  • Advanced: A student demonstrates superior performance in the subject.
  • Mastery: A student demonstrates competency of challenging subject matter and is well prepared for the next level of schooling.
  • Basic: A student demonstrates only fundamental knowledge and skills in the subject.
  • Approaching Basic: A student only partially demonstrates the fundamental knowledge and skills of the subject.
  • Unsatisfactory: A student does not demonstrate the fundamental knowledge and skills.[8]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [14]

The table on the right compares the percentage of district students scoring either mastery and higher or basic and higher on the iLEAP and LEAP with the statewide averages. The percentage of mastery and higher is not available prior to 2013 results.

End-of-course tests

High school students in Louisiana take end-of-course tests in algebra I, geometry, English II and III, biology and U.S. history. The students receive one of the following four scores on each test:

  • Excellent: A student demonstrates superior performance of the course content.
  • Good: A student demonstrates mastery of course content and is well prepared for the next level of coursework in the subject.
  • Fair: A student demonstrates only the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of coursework in the subject.
  • Needs Improvement: A student does not demonstrate the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of coursework in the subject.[8]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [15]

In the 2013-2014 school year, 68 percent of students taking end-of-course tests across all subjects in the district earned a grade of good or excellent. This was up 4 percent from 64 percent in 2012-2013.[13]

District letter grade

Louisiana uses a letter grade system of A through F to describe school performance scores. The table on the right outlines the district's letter score by year. The scores are based on the following measurements:

A-F Letter Grade Results[16]
Year Performance
score
Letter
grade
2014 94.6 B
2013 94.3 B
  • Elementary schools (K-6): 100 percent of the school grade is based on student achievement on annual assessments in English language arts, math, science, and social studies. Schools may also earn points for significant improvement with students who are academically behind.
  • Middle schools (7-8): 95 percent of the school grade is based on student achievement on annual assessments with the final 5 percent based on credits earned through the end of students’ 9th grade year. Schools may also earn points for significant improvement with students who are academically behind.
  • High schools (9-12): Half of the school grade is based on student achievement (25 percent on the ACT and 25 percent on End-of-Course assessments). Half of the school grade is based on graduation (25 percent on the graduation index, which rewards achievements like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exam credit, and 25 percent on the cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students graduating in four years). Schools may also earn points for significant improvement with students who are academically behind.[8]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [17]

Issues

Board member battery charges

On September 12, 2014, District 11 representative on the school board Clyde "Joey" Duplantis III (D) was charged with simply battery of a 14-year old student. The alleged incident took place on August 24, 2014, at a fundraiser event for the school marching band. Witnesses reported that Duplantis pinned a student to the wall by either his shirt or throat and jabbed the student with a dodge ball after the student did not immediately leave the court after being "out" in a dodge ball game.[18]

In an interview with the police on September 8, 2014, Duplantis stated that he grabbed the student by the arm and touched his chest while explaining the rules of the dodge ball game.[18]

The school district does not have a policy to handle "incidents in which a board member is charged in a student-related incident." Duplantis was not suspended from the board and proceeded to win a second term in the 2014 general election. The investigation is ongoing.[18]

Board term limits

On November 6, 2012, Lafourche Parish voters elected by over 78 percent to instate term limits. Terms won in the 2014 election were the first to be affected by the change. Starting with terms that began on or after January 1, 2015, any member who, at the end of his or her term, has served more than two and one-half terms in the last three consecutive terms cannot be re-elected in the following term. However, they can be re-elected following the one term break. The limit does not apply retroactively to incumbents, thus allowing them to potentially serve up to 12 more years.[19][7]

Parishwide School District Local Option
Term Limits Proposition (2012)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 26,650 78.52%
No7,29121.48%

Ballot text:

LOCAL OPTION ELECTION

Within Lafourche Parish School District: Shall the number of terms of office that any member of the school board may serve be limited to three consecutive four-year terms?[8]

Louisiana Secretary of State's website, (2014), [20]

Contact information

Lafourche Parish School District logo.PNG
Lafourche Parish School District
805 E. 7th St.
Thibodaux, LA 70301
Phone: 985-446-5631

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

References

  1. Louisiana Department of Education, "District and State Graduation Rates (2005-2006 to 2012-2013)," accessed November 24, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 17, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 United States Census Bureau, "Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, Quick Facts," accessed September 3, 2014
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Results," accessed September 2, 2014
  5. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  6. Lafourche Parish School District, "JOANN R MATTHEWS," accessed December 3, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Louisiana Secretary of State, "QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES," accessed September 2, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Lafourche Parish School District, "B SECTION POLICY - SCHOOL BOARD OPERATIONS: BCBI Public Participation," November 2013
  10. Lafourche Parish Public Schools, "Budget Statements," accessed December 11, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lafourche Parish School District, "2013-2014 Salary Schedules," July 1, 2013
  12. Louisiana Department of Education, "DIBELS Next," accessed November 24, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Louisiana Department of Education, "Test Results," accessed November 24, 2014
  14. Louisiana Department of Education, "Annual Assessments," accessed November 24, 2014
  15. Louisiana Department of Education, "End-of-Course Tests," accessed November 24, 2014
  16. Louisiana Department of Education, "Performance Scores," accessed November 24, 2014
  17. Louisiana Department of Education, "School Letter Grades," accessed November 24, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 WWL, "School board member charged with simple battery against student," September 12, 2014
  19. Louisiana Secretary of State, "HOW ARE CANDIDATES ELECTED?," accessed September 2, 2014
  20. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Election Results," accessed December 4, 2014