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   Ville Platte-  Discussion  at Wednesday’s meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board centered over a proposal to mandate all school coaches to have a Commercial Drivers License.

     The conversation began by School Board President Wayne Dardeau who felt it was not fair to only have coaches with CDL’s having to drive the buses to athletic and academic events. Currently, there is no job description calling for coaches to have a CDL.

“It puts a strain on those few coaches to have to do all of the bus driving,” said Dardeau. In addition to the sporting events, those coaches are asked to transport students on field trips and literary rallies.

     The current policy of the school board does not require coaches to own a CDL. However, those who wish to obtain such a license, the school board does pay for the training expenses.

      Personnel Supervisor Mike Lombas recommended against changing the policy. “This suggestion would mean changing the conditions of employment and adding additional duties to our coaches.  “

     Lombas suggested that if the board is in favor of the policy change that it should be phased in over a period of time.

     Dardeau said neighboring parishes all require their coaches to have a CDL license.

     It could be costly for schools to begin having First Student to provide transportation for all sporting and academic events.

     The school board finally approved a motion by Board Member Peggy Forman to authorize Superintendent Toni Hamlin and her staff to conduct a study on how school principals feel about a policy change and to prepare a cost estimate on how much it would impact the schools if they employed First Student for the extra curricular bus transportation.

     In other business, Superintendent Hamlin reported to the school board that the first day of school went smooth. There were 5822 students in attendance Wednesday for the first day of school, very close to what the school district population was a year ago.

    Board members were told that the first student pickup in the morning is at 5:45am and some students come home as late as 5;00pm in the afternoon.

     In other action the school board:

--appointed Crystal Ortego out of 19 applicants for the position of LPN at Vidrine Elementary School;

--appointed Jeremy Murray as Band Instructor for Ville Platte and Mamou High Schools.

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The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum operated by the City of Ville Platte is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos, records, Wall of Fame and hear the music. Admission charge is $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 for children under 12. The museum is located on Northwest Railroad Avenue.

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