St. Mary Parish Schools, Louisiana
|St. Mary Parish Schools|
|Superintendent:||Dr. Donald W. Aguillard|
|Number of schools:||24|
|Website:||School Home Page|
|Board of Education|
|Board president:||Murphy Pontiff (D)|
|Term length:||4 years|
- 1 About the district
- 2 Superintendent
- 3 School board
- 4 Budget
- 5 Teacher salaries
- 6 Schools in St. Mary Parish Schools
- 7 Academic performance
- 8 Issues
- 9 Contact information
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
About the districtLouisiana 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aguillard has received the following awards and participated in the following programs during his time as an educator and administrator:
- 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)
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|
|1||Joseph C. Foulcard Jr.||Democratic||January 1, 1995||December 31, 2018|
|2||Mary "Shannette" Lockley||Democratic||January 1, 1995||December 31, 2018|
|3||Edward Payton Jr.||Democratic||N/A||December 31, 2014|
|4||Murphy Pontiff||Democratic||N/A||December 31, 2014|
|5||Ginger S. Griffin||Republican||January 1, 2003||December 31, 2018|
|6||Marilyn LaSalle||Democratic||January 1, 1995||December 31, 2018|
|7||Wayne J. Deslatte||Independent||January 1, 1995||December 31, 2018|
|8||Michael "Mike" E. Taylor||Democratic||January 1, 1991||December 31, 2018|
|9||William "Bill" McCarty||Independent||January 1, 2007||December 31, 2018|
|10||Anthony Streva||Independent||January 1, 2007||December 31, 2018|
|11||Roland Herman Verret||Democratic||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.
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.
Public participation in board meetings
The St. Mary Parish School Board maintains the following policies on public testimony during board meetings on their website:
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:
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.
—St. Mary Parish Schools website, (2008), 
The table below displays the budget for the St. Mary Parish Schools:
|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|
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.
The following table details the salary schedule for teachers as of July 1, 2008:
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
|Master's + 30||40,868||55,538|
|Ph.D or Ed.D||42,999||57,753|
Schools in St. Mary Parish Schools
St. Mary Parish Schools served 9,439 students in the 2011-2012 school year. The district does not publicly archive enrollment data.
St. Mary Parish Schools operates 24 school which are listed below in alphabetical order:
|St. Mary Parish Schools|
|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|
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.
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:
|DIBELS Next results|
|Testing date||Kindergarten||1st grade||2nd grade||3rd grade|
|Core (%)||Strategic (%)||Intensive (%)||Core (%)||Strategic (%)||Intensive (%)||Core (%)||Strategic (%)||Intensive (%)||Core (%)||Strategic (%)||Intensive (%)|
iLEAP and LEAP
|LEAP and iLEAP percentile ranks|
|Year|| Mastery and
| Basic and|
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:
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.
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:
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.
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|
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."
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."
Policy on prayer in schools
The district's policy on prayer in school is as follows:
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.
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.
—St. Mary Parish Schools website, (2013), 
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.
|“||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?
| Parishwide School District Local Option|
Term Limits Proposition (2012)
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.
- Louisiana school districts
- List of school districts in Louisiana
- St. Mary Parish Schools elections (2014)
- School board elections portal
- St. Mary Parish Schools
- St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
- Louisiana Department of Education
- Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA)
- Louisiana Department of Education, "District and State Graduation Rates (2005-2006 to 2012-2013)," accessed November 24, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, Quick Facts," accessed September 3, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Results," accessed September 2, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- St. Mary Parish Schools, "District Information: Superintendent," accessed December 2, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES," accessed September 2, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- St. Mary Parish Schools, "Policy Manual Display And Reference Guide," October 9, 2008
- U.S. Census, "Public Elementary–Secondary Education Finance Data," accessed December 11, 2013
- St. Mary Parish Schools, " Teacher's Salary Schedule," July 1, 2008
- Louisiana Department of Education, "DIBELS Next," accessed November 24, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Test Results," accessed November 24, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Annual Assessments," accessed November 24, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "End-of-Course Tests," accessed November 24, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Performance Scores," accessed November 24, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "School Letter Grades," accessed November 24, 2014
- The Republic, "Superintendent says prayer at St. Mary student assembly inconsistent with school policy," November 20, 2014
- Appignani Humanist Legal Center, "Re: Constitutional Violation," November 18, 2014
- The Advocate, "Superintendent says prayer at St. Mary student assembly ‘inconsistent’ with school policy," November 23, 2014
- St. Mary Parish Schools, "PRAYER IN SCHOOLS," August 2013
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Election Results," accessed December 4, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "HOW ARE CANDIDATES ELECTED?," accessed September 2, 2014