Ville Platte The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday awarded First Student a new three year contract to provide transportation services for the school district. First Student will be entering its third contract with the Evangeline Parish School System. The winning quote was 2.4 million dollars, which is $293,000 below the second lowest bidder, Durham Transportation. The third quote came from Student Transportation of America from Massachusetts.
Transportation Supervisor Ted Soileau said the buses will continue to be all air conditioned for the comfort of the students and not be any older than 5 years old. In addition, the new contract stipulates that all of the First Student buses will have security cameras on board as well as having a GPS tracking system. The great majority of the buses are owned and operated by First Student. Soileau said there are still a few bus driver owned school buses.
In her remarks to the school board, Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin said she and members of her staff recently participated in a conference call with new State Superintendent of Education John White. She reported that each school will be graded based on two factors: school ACT scores and the school’s graduation rate.
Hamlin said “I am flabbergasted by this new state policy. This is discouraging our school principals since only about 20 percent of our graduates enter college.” She said the new policy will mandate that every high school junior will be required to take the American College Test which will be paid by the state.
In a related matter, she informed the school board that the state of Louisiana will be asking for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind program with the Department of Education in Washington. As a trade-off, the state will adopt a new tougher evaluation system where half of the evaluation will be based on student achievement.
“This will be a tremendous challenge to our school principals since only principals will be able to conduct the evaluations for school teachers,” said Hamlin. In the past, both principals and their assistants could provide the monitoring and evaluations.
In other action, the school board:
--recognized the following parish wide students of the year: Elementary Division: Kirsten Goodley, 5th grade student at Mamou High; Junior High Student of the Year- Layton Langley, 8th grade student at Basile High; High School Student of the Year- Garrett Cantu, senior at Ville Platte High School;
--approved the appointment of Kevin Manuel as new Head Football Coach at Mamou High School;
--approved the appointment of Christina Fontenot as a new social worker;
--announced that due to President’s Day and Mardi Gras holiday , there will be no school Monday through Wednesday Feb. 20-22 in parish public schools;
--received news that there will be a Technology Fair Saturday Feb. 25 at Vidrine Elementary school from 8:30a, to 3;00pm.