The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday evening at the media center. Superintendent Darwin Lazard announced that the District Performance Score (DPS) is 76.4. State Superintendent John White predicted dramatic drops, but Lazard commended the hard work of personnel, teachers, principals, and support staff who work along with the students. "We're not completely satisfied where we are, but we're happy where we are, and we are looking forward to continuing to climb to the top [...] We feel like we're headed in the right direction," he said, adding, "Probably few people in the state of Louisiana can explain the kind of magic dust that's used to calculate the formula, but we live and die by them." He went on to congratulate Mamou Elementary, Vidrine Elementary, and James Stephens Montessori for being recognized as top gains schools because they were able to raise their students at a higher level and higher percentage than many of the other schools in the state. He said the district graduation rate, under the new formula, is 80.5 B; under the old formula it would have been
School Board President Wayne Dardeau said the business with School Performance Scores and District Performance Scores is difficult to understand for the general public because of way they are scored, and the big concern the public has is Common Core. He, along with board member Scott Limoges, mentioned that citizens should pay attention to BESE Board candidates in the election next year because it's the BESE Board that comes up with the scoring system. BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) has the authority to create polices that govern the statewide operations of schools.
In other business, CLECO Energy Efficient Consultant, Gary Guidroz, announced that, through CLECO's Power Wise Program, they are giving the EPSB an incentive in the amount of $20,000 for 2018 due to the LED retrofits being installed in parish schools. Guidroz said the energy-efficiency program is offered to anyone with a CLECO account. EPSB Maintenance & Operational Facilitator Jason Hazelton said the LED retrofits are coming along nicely so far in Bayou Chicot Elementary. He was pleased with the work accomplished so far.
In other action, the board considered a motion to approve renewal of ISU Lemoine Insurance Agency as their insurance agent for a three-year term, but board member Mike Fontenot had some trepidation about being locked into a three-year term. The insurance agency agreed to a 30 day back-out clause. The board agreed to the three-year term with a 30 day back-out clause.
The school board won a drawing for a $2,000 CNC simulator for a machinist to learn how to program, provided by the Hayes Foundation. Powel Industries then donated $5,000 simulation software to help start the machinist program. Lazard said there's a need for machinists in Evangeline Parish, and this donation will help to fill those jobs.
In other business, the board approved:
• chrome books and carts for several schools in the parish.
• a motion to ratify an agreement with ABA School Consultants, LLC for psychologist services
• a motion to ratify an agreement with First Choice Therapy, Inc. for physical therapy services.
• Permission to accept low bid prices for large equipment for the Child Nutrition Program.
In closing comments, Superintendent Lazard congratulated Bayou Chicot Elementary band students, Grace Bordelon and Connor Deville, who made it to the district honor band. Their band teacher is John Hovard.