St. Mary Parish Schools, Louisiana

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St. Mary Parish Schools
Centerville, Louisiana
St. Mary Public Schools logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Dr. Donald W. Aguillard
Enrollment:9,439
Graduation rate:77.1%[1]
Number of schools:24
Budget: $104,544,000
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Murphy Pontiff (D)
Board members:11
Term length:4 years
St. Mary Parish Schools is a school district in Louisiana. In the 2011-2012 school year, St. Mary Parish was the 21st-largest school district in Louisiana and served 9,439 students.[2]

About the district

St. Mary Parish Schools is located in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.
St. Mary Parish Schools lies in southern Louisiana in St. Mary Parish. The seat of parish government is Franklin. St. Mary Parish was home to approximately 53,543 residents according to 2013 estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[3]

Demographics

St. Mary Parish underperformed compared to the rest of Louisiana in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 10.7 percent of St. Mary 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 $40,738 compared to $44,673 statewide. The poverty rate in the parish was 20.3 percent compared to 18.7 percent for the entire state.[3]

Racial Demographics, 2013[3]
Race St. Mary Parish (%) Louisiana (%)
White 61.8 63.5
Black or African American 32.7 32.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.9 0.8
Asian 1.7 1.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 6.2 4.7

Presidential Voting Pattern, St. Mary Parish[4]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 9,450 13,885
2008 9,345 13,183
2004 9,547 12,877
2000 9,851 11,325

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 St. Mary Parish Schools is Dr. Donald W. Aguillard who began his tenure on July 1, 2004. Prior to his appointment, he worked as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, area director and district administrator in the Lafayette Parish School System.[6]

Aguillard holds a bachelor's degree in secondary science education, a master's degree in curriculum and an education specialist degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He also holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana State University, where he was a graduate fellow from 1994 to 1995.[6]

Aguillard has received the following awards and participated in the following programs during his time as an educator and administrator:[6]

  • First Louisiana superintendent to join the National Center for Education Research & Technology (NCERT) (2009)
  • Exemplar Award, National Association of Biology Teachers (1998)
  • Louisiana Assistant Principal of the Year, Louisiana Association of Principals (1992)
  • National Recognition Program for Assistant Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals (1992)
  • Special Recognition Citation, National Science Teachers Association (1989)

School board

St. Mary Parish Schools is overseen by a school board comprised of 11 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.

St. Mary Parish School Board
District Member Partisan
Affiliation
Term
Began
Term
Ends
1 Joseph C. Foulcard Jr. Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 1995 December 31, 2018
2 Mary "Shannette" Lockley Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 1995 December 31, 2018
3 Edward Payton Jr. Democratic Democratic Party N/A December 31, 2014
4 Murphy Pontiff Democratic Democratic Party N/A December 31, 2014
5 Ginger S. Griffin Republican Republican Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
6 Marilyn LaSalle Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 1995 December 31, 2018
7 Wayne J. Deslatte Independent Independent January 1, 1995 December 31, 2018
8 Michael "Mike" E. Taylor Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 1991 December 31, 2018
9 William "Bill" McCarty Independent Independent January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
10 Anthony Streva Independent Independent January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
11 Roland Herman Verret Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018

School board elections

See also: St. Mary Parish Schools elections (2014)

The 11 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. Eleven 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. This term limit first takes 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 St. Mary Parish School Board maintains the following policies on public testimony during board meetings on their website:

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The St. Mary Parish School Board shall conduct all meetings in full view of and with welcome participation by the public. However, the Board reserves the right to recess into or call executive sessions for discussing private matters. At no time will actions be taken or resolutions made during executive sessions.

Criticism or complaints directed personally at employees of the District or members of the Board are out of order during any open meeting. Such complaints about personnel will be considered, if at all, only in closed session.

REQUEST FOR ITEM TO BE PLACED ON AGENDA

All delegations or individuals who wish to appear before the Board shall submit their requests in writing to the Superintendent at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting date, stating what matters they wish considered by the Board. A written summary indicating the subject to be presented shall accompany the requests so that information pertinent to the matter can be obtained. The Superintendent shall attempt to meet with the person(s) requesting to address the Board to attempt to satisfy the concerns expressed in the written request. If this is not successful, one person per delegation shall be selected in advance as spokesperson to speak to the Board for not more than ten (10) minutes. The item that a delegation wishes to address will be added to the agenda provided they have complied with the ten (10) day notice and the issue has not been resolved by the Superintendent. Such items may be included on the agenda of the meeting at which the delegation or individual wishes to appear before the Board. The Board President, in conjunction with the Superintendent, reserves the right to determine whether to include an individual or group on the agenda.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS

A public comment period shall be held before any vote is taken on an agenda item. The comment period shall precede each agenda item. However, 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.

The procedures on public comment shall be as follows:

1. A card must be submitted to the Superintendent or his/her designee at least ten (10) minutes prior to the start of the Board meeting stating:
a. Name of the person
b. Delegation (organization) representing
c. The agenda item to be addressed
2. A separate card is to be submitted for each agenda item the speaker is asking to address.
3. The address to the Board will immediately follow the announcement of the agenda item by the Board President.
4. The address will precede any Board debate on the agenda item.
5. The address will be limited to three (3) minutes unless extended by the Board President.
6. 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.

In addition, the President of the Board may recognize persons at the Board meetings for the purpose of introducing such persons. The President shall have the authority to remove any person disrupting or interfering in any manner with the conduction of a meeting of the Board.[8]

—St. Mary Parish Schools website, (2008), [9]

Budget

The table below displays the budget for the St. Mary Parish 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
2010-2011 $71,038,000 68% $4,516,000 4.3% $27,809,000 26.6% $1,181,000 1.1% $0 0% $104,544,000
Averages: $71,038,000 68% $4,516,000 4% $27,809,000 27% $1,181,000 1% $0 0% $104,544,000

Teacher salaries

Teacher salaries in St. Mary Parish Schools 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 degrees. The salary schedule accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries.[11]

The following table details the salary schedule for teachers as of July 1, 2008:[11]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
Bachelor's degree 40,000 52,148
Master's degree 40,545 54,133
Master's + 30 40,868 55,538
Educational specialist 41,825 56,768
Ph.D or Ed.D 42,999 57,753

Schools in St. Mary Parish Schools

Enrollment

St. Mary Parish Schools served 9,439 students in the 2011-2012 school year.[2] The district does not publicly archive enrollment data.

District schools

St. Mary Parish Schools operates 24 school which are listed below in alphabetical order:

St. Mary Parish Schools
School Name
A-L M-Z
Aucoin (J. S.) Elementary Maitland (J.B.) Elementary
Bayou Vista Elementary Morgan City Junior High
Berwick Elementary Morgan City Senior High
Berwick Junior High Norman (M.E.) Elementary
Berwick Senior High Patterson Junior High
Boudreaux (B. Edward) Middle Patterson Senior High
Centerville School Raintree Elementary
Foster (W. P.) Elementary Shannon (M.D.) Elementary
Franklin Junior High St. Mary Parish Alternative
Franklin Senior High Watts (Hattie A.) Elementary
Hernandez (J. A.) Elementary West St. Mary High School
LaGrange Elementary Wyandotte Elementary

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 62 24 14 53 17 30 59 19 22 55 16 29
Fall 2012 58 18 24 62 16 22 63 13 24 59 13 28
Spring 2012 62 26 12 50 17 33 53 22 24 51 19 30
Fall 2011 47 20 33 45 19 36 54 16 30 55 15 30

iLEAP and LEAP

LEAP and iLEAP percentile ranks[13]
Year Mastery and
above (%)
Basic and
above (%)
2014 District 23 70
Statewide 24 69
2013 District 22 70
Statewide 23 66
2012 District N/A 70
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, 59 percent of students taking end-of-course tests across all subjects in the district earned a grade of good or excellent. This was up 1 percent from 58 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 90.4 B
2013 90.5 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

Prayer in school

St. Mary Parish Schools was threatened with a lawsuit from the American Humanist Association (AHA) following an introductory prayer being given at a 2014 Veteran's Day assembly at Morgan City Senior High School. An 11th-grade student complained to the organization after being attendees of the mandatory assembly were told to "stand and bow their heads for a Christian prayer."[18][19]

District officials stated the prayer was inconsistent with school policies. Superintendent Aguillard said of the matter, "The district will provide guidance to school principals to preserve compliance to the law while also protecting the constitutional rights of all of our student." He also stated in reply to the letter from the AHA, "Please be assured that we recognize the important responsibility of protecting the constitutional rights of all of our students."[20]

Policy on prayer in schools

The district's policy on prayer in school is as follows:

PRAYER IN SCHOOLS

The St. Mary Parish School Board shall permit school authorities of each school to allow an opportunity, at the start of each school day, for those students and teachers desiring to do so to observe a brief time in silent prayer or meditation.

Public schools shall be prohibited from adopting or using any official or standard prayer. Voluntary, student-initiated, student-led prayer in accordance with the religious views of the student offering the prayer may be permitted; however, no student attending the school shall be required to participate in any religious activity at school.

No law, rule or policy shall deny to any student attending a public elementary or secondary school the right to participate in voluntary, student-initiated, student-led prayer during school or on school property, before or after school or during free time. Athletic teams shall not be prohibited from engaging in voluntary, student-initiated, student-led prayer.

No law, rule or policy shall prevent any student who attends a public elementary or secondary school and who is responsible for or presiding over a meeting of a school organization or assembly from calling upon a student volunteer to offer an inspirational quotation or statement, offer a voluntary prayer, or lead in silent meditation, at the sole option of the student volunteer.

A student organization shall not be denied recognition or any privilege or benefit solely because it is religious in nature, has a religious affiliation, or has no religious affiliation.

School officials shall be prohibited from censoring for religious content the speech of a high school student invited to speak at a commencement ceremony at the school he/she is attending.

When student volunteers are called upon to offer an inspirational quotation or statement, offer a prayer, or lead in silent meditation, such students shall be selected at random by a student from among student volunteers without respect to their individual religious beliefs or lack thereof. No student shall be called upon to offer an inspirational quotation or statement, offer a voluntary prayer, or lead in silent meditation unless the student has volunteered to do so.

STUDENT-INITIATED PRAYER

Upon the request of any public school student or students, the principal or his/her designee may permit students to gather for prayer in a classroom, auditorium, or other space that is not in use, at any time before the school day begins when the school is open and students are allowed on campus, at any time after the school day ends provided that at least one student club or organization is meeting at that time, or at any non-instructional time during the school day. A school employee may be assigned to supervise the gathering if such supervision is also requested by the student or students and the school employee volunteers to supervise the gathering.

Any school employee may attend and participate in the gathering if it occurs before the employee's work day begins or after the employee's work day ends.

Any parent may attend the gathering if the parent adheres to school procedures for approval of visitors on the school campus.

The students may invite persons from the community to attend and participate in the gathering if other school organizations and clubs are allowed to make similar invitations. Such persons shall adhere to school procedures for approval of visitors on the school campus.[8]

—St. Mary Parish Schools website, (2013), [21]

Board term limits

Terms won in the 2014 election were the first to be affected by the imposition of term limits on school board members in the parish. On November 6, 2012, St. Mary Parish voters elected by more than a two-thirds majority to instate term limits.


Ballot text:

LOCAL OPTION ELECTION

Within St. Mary 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), [22]



Parishwide School District Local Option
Term Limits Proposition (2012)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 15,707 76.96%
No4,70323.04%

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.[23][7]

Contact information

St. Mary Public Schools logo.jpg
St. Mary Parish Schools
474 Hwy 317
P.O. Box 170
Centerville, LA 70522
Phone: 337-836-9661

See also

External links

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
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, "St. Mary 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. 6.0 6.1 6.2 St. Mary Parish Schools, "District Information: Superintendent," accessed December 2, 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 8.5 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. St. Mary Parish Schools, "Policy Manual Display And Reference Guide," October 9, 2008
  10. U.S. Census, "Public Elementary–Secondary Education Finance Data," accessed December 11, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 St. Mary Parish Schools, " Teacher's Salary Schedule," July 1, 2008
  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. The Republic, "Superintendent says prayer at St. Mary student assembly inconsistent with school policy," November 20, 2014
  19. Appignani Humanist Legal Center, "Re: Constitutional Violation," November 18, 2014
  20. The Advocate, "Superintendent says prayer at St. Mary student assembly ‘inconsistent’ with school policy," November 23, 2014
  21. St. Mary Parish Schools, "PRAYER IN SCHOOLS," August 2013
  22. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Election Results," accessed December 4, 2014
  23. Louisiana Secretary of State, "HOW ARE CANDIDATES ELECTED?," accessed September 2, 2014