Vernon Parish School District, Louisiana

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Vernon Parish School District
Leesville, Louisiana
Vernon Parish School District logo.PNG
District Profile
Superintendent:James Williams
Enrollment:10,139
Graduation rate:81.9%[1]
Number of schools:19
Budget: $117.1 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Michael "Mike" Perkins (I)
Board members:13
Term length:4 years
Vernon Parish School District is a school district in Louisiana. In the 2011-2012 school year, it was the 18th-largest school district in Louisiana and served 10,139 students.[2]

About the district

Vernon Parish School District is located in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.
Vernon Parish School District lies in west central Louisiana in Vernon Parish. The seat of parish government is Leesville. Vernon Parish was home to approximately 52,606 residents according to 2013 estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[3]

Demographics

Vernon Parish underperformed compared to the rest of Louisiana in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 17.8 percent of Vernon 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 $46,260 compared to $44,673 statewide. The poverty rate in the parish was 12.6 percent compared to 18.7 percent for the entire state.[3]

Racial Demographics, 2013[3]
Race Vernon Parish (%) Louisiana (%)
White 77.8 63.5
Black or African American 14.7 32.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.6 0.8
Asian 1.9 1.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.5 0.1
Two or More Races 3.5 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 9.2 4.7

Presidential Voting Pattern, Vernon Parish[4]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 3,173 12,150
2008 3,534 11,946
2004 4,035 11,032
2000 4,655 8,794

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 Vernon Parish School District is James Williams who was sworn in on July 10, 2014. He was appointed to the position on December 5, 2013, after then-superintendent Jackie Self announced his plans to retire.[6][7][8]

School board

Vernon Parish School District is overseen by a school board comprised of 12 partisan members who are elected to represent geographical districts for four-year terms and the Garrison Commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk whose position is ex-officio. The Garrison Commander serves in an advisory capacity and does not vote in school board decisions.[9] District 1 has five elected representatives while the other seven districts have one elected representative each.

Vernon Parish School Board
District Member Partisan
Affiliation
Term
Began
Term
Ends
1 Doug Brandon Republican Republican Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
1 Mel Harris Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2014
1 Randi Schamerhorn Gleason Republican Republican Party 2008 December 31, 2018
1 Robert Pynes Jr. Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
1 Steve Woods Independent Independent January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
2 Jerry L. Jeane Republican Republican Party N/A December 31, 2014
3 Richard Schwartz Republican Republican Party N/A December 31, 2014
4 William "Randy" Martin Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2003 December 31, 2018
5 Michael "Mike" Perkins Independent Independent January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
6 Vernon Travis Jr. Democratic Democratic Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
7 John Blankenbaker Republican Republican Party January 1, 2007 December 31, 2018
8 Gerald Cooley Republican Republican Party January 1, 2011 December 31, 2018
Garrison
Commander
Colonel T. Glenn Moore Ex-officio July 19, 2013 N/A

School board elections

See also: Vernon Parish School District elections (2014)

The 12 partisan school board members are elected concurrently by district. This means that regular school board elections are held every four years with all members being up for re-election at that time. Additionally, they are elected by a geographically defined district which they represent. 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.[10]

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.[10]

Twelve seats were up for general election on November 4, 2014. The next general election will be in November 2018.

Public participation in board meetings

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

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

It is the policy of the Vernon Parish School Board to conduct all meetings in full view of and with welcomed participation by the public. However, the Board reserves the right to recess into or call executive sessions for discussing private matters as provided by State Law. At no time shall actions be taken or resolutions made during executive sessions.

The School Board has approved two (2) methods for the public to address the Board. The first method requires all delegations or individuals who wish to place an item on a Board meeting agenda to submit their requests to the Superintendent in writing at least five (5) days prior to the meeting date, stating what matters they wish to take up with the Board and the approximate time such matters should consume at the meeting. The Superintendent shall have the authority to determine whether items requested are significant enough to appear on the meeting agenda or be referred to the appropriate Board committee. Each delegation appearing before the Board shall select one person in advance as its spokesperson and notify the Superintendent.

In addition, the public may also address the Board during a public comment period held before any vote is taken on an agenda item. The comment period shall precede each agenda item and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures established by the Board. Individuals who wish to comment on an agenda item shall complete a Public Comment Card at least thirty (30) minutes prior to the meeting time. Public Comment Cards shall be available at the receptionist's desk in the School Board office. If an agenda item is added to the agenda during the meeting, the President shall ask individuals in the audience if they wish to speak on that item.

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.

Comments shall be germane to the agenda item being addressed and shall be limited to five (5) minutes unless waived by the Board. 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 President shall have the authority to remove any person disrupting or interfering in any manner with the conduction of a meeting of the Board.[11]

—Vernon Parish School District, (2014), [12]

Budget

The table below displays the budget for the Vernon Parish School District:[13][14]

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 $67,378,195 56.7% $18,450,359 15.5% $8,293,081 7% $0.00 0% $24,660,982 20.8% $118,783,511
2014-2015 $58,774,222 50.2% $11,591,056 9.9% $8,151,414 7% $0.00 0% $38,545,665 32.9% $117,062,357
Averages: $63,076,208.5 53% $15,020,707.5 13% $8,222,247.5 7% $0 0% $31,603,323.5 27% $117,922,934

Teacher salaries

Vernon Parish School District's teacher salaries are categorized based on higher education achievement and years of experience. 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 by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries.[15]

The following table details the salary schedule for teachers for the 2014-2015 fiscal year:[15]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
Bachelor's degree 36,216 47,431
Master's degree 36,669 48,859
Master's + 30 36,769 49,764
Educational specialist 37,401 50,504
Education doctorate 38,208 51,005

Schools in Vernon Parish School District

Enrollment

Vernon Parish School District served 10,139 students in the 2011-2012 school year.[2] The district does not publicly archive enrollment data on its website.

District schools

Vernon Parish School District operates 19 schools which are listed below in alphabetical order:

Vernon Parish School District
School Name
Anacoco Elementary School
Anacoco High School
East Leesville Elementary School
Evans High School
Hicks High School
Hornbeck High School
Leesville High School
Leesville Jr. High School
North Polk Elementary School
Optional School
Pickering Elementary School
Pickering High School
Pitkin High School
Rosepine Elementary School
Rosepine Jr./Sr. High School
Simpson High School
South Polk Elementary
Vernon Middle School
West Leesville 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:[16]

DIBELS Next results[17]
Testing date Kindergarten 1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade
Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%) Core (%) Strategic (%) Intensive (%)
Spring 2013 86 <10 <5 71 14 15 69 16 15 69 14 17
Fall 2012 46 21 33 68 14 17 69 11 20 68 11 20
Spring 2012 78 16 7 63 17 20 66 19 15 63 19 18
Fall 2011 46 22 32 70 12 18 71 13 16 72 10 18

iLEAP and LEAP

LEAP and iLEAP percentile ranks[17]
Year Mastery and
above (%)
Basic and
above (%)
2014 District 34 83
Statewide 24 69
2013 District 32 82
Statewide 23 66
2012 District N/A 81
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.[11]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [18]

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.[11]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [19]

In the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, 75 percent of students taking end-of-course tests across all subjects in the district earned a good or excellent score.[17]

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[20]
Year Performance
score
Letter
grade
2014 105.1 A
2013 104.6 A
  • 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.[11]

Louisiana Department of Education website, (2014), [21]

Issues

Board term limits

On November 6, 2012, Vernon 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.


Ballot text:

LOCAL OPTION ELECTION

Within Vernon 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?[11]

Louisiana Secretary of State's website, (2014), [22]



Parishwide School District Local Option
Term Limits Proposition (2012)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 11,126 78.25%
No3,09221.75%

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][10]

Contact information

Vernon Parish School District logo.PNG
Vernon Parish School District
201 Belview Rd.
Leesville, LA 71446
Phone: 800-621-1742

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, "Vernon 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. Leesville Daily Leader, "Williams named next superintendent of Vernon Parish School Board," December 9, 2013
  7. Leesville Daily Leader, "Retiring Jackie Self presides over final VPSB meeting," June 13, 2014
  8. Leesville Daily Leader, "Williams presides over first meeting as superintendent," July 11, 2014
  9. Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, "A Parent’s Guide to Quality Schools," accessed December 3, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Louisiana Secretary of State, "QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES," accessed September 2, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  12. Vernon Parish School Board, "Policy Manual Display and Reference Guide," October 17, 2014
  13. Vernon Parish School District, "September 10, 2013, minutes," accessed December 4, 2013
  14. Vernon Parish School District, "September 9, 2014, minutes," accessed December 11, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 Vernon Parish School District, "Teacher Salary Schedule ," accessed December 3, 2014
  16. Louisiana Department of Education, "DIBELS Next," accessed November 24, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Louisiana Department of Education, "Test Results," accessed November 24, 2014
  18. Louisiana Department of Education, "Annual Assessments," accessed November 24, 2014
  19. Louisiana Department of Education, "End-of-Course Tests," accessed November 24, 2014
  20. Louisiana Department of Education, "Performance Scores," accessed November 24, 2014
  21. Louisiana Department of Education, "School Letter Grades," accessed November 24, 2014
  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