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     The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday heard from Attorney Bob Hammonds report on Act One of the state legislature and how it will impact the school board.
     Act One, according to Hammonds, said it will influence a lot of the school board’s actions. The attorney said his office staff spent more than 100 hours studying and researching the new education law.
      The act includes performance targets for school employees in schools that have a D or F ranking. Those targets include student achievement and graduation rates.
      The new school act expands the power of local school superintendents. School boards will determine the number of employees however the school superintendent will have the authority to determine the salary of every school employee. Also after September, the superintendent will have the authority to hire an employee without getting approval from the school board. All employee hiring and placement will be  done by the school superintendent. The board will decide on hiring only the superintendent.
       Also Act One, school principals will have the authority to  hire teachers for their schools subject to the approval of superintendent.
        The school board will need a new reduction in force policy in effect by September 1. Seniority cannot be considered in the policy. The superintendent will have the ability to hire all employees but can only fire teachers. All other employees considered for termination has be approved by the board.
        The school board will have to establish a new salary schedule for teachers and employees that will contain the employee’s full compensation. School employees cannot be paid extra pay for extra work effective for the 2013-2014.
         Also for teachers to obtain tenure protection, they must be ranked into the top ten percent for five of the past six years.. The attorney felt this new policy will mean the end of teacher tenure within the next ten years. The act also makes it easier for teachers to be terminated.
          Board Vice President Jerry Thompson said “The sad part is that most qualified young people will no longer want to go into education with this new education policy.”
          Hammonds predicted this stature will “be the subject of litigation by teachers and teacher groups in the near future.”
          On the issue of the state retirement system, the state is forcing local school boards to pay the pro rate  employee share of retirement funding for employees who retire or who laid off. The school board is considering filing a lawsuit to recoup a $256,000 reduction in the MFP funds because of the new retirement fund policy. Schools boards in West Baton Rouge and Point Coupee parishes have already filed lawsuits against the state over the same policy.
          Hammonds also announced that Act 386 calls for a term limits referendum will be on the election day ballot on November 6 for voters to decide whether they want to place term limits on their school board members. Board President Wayne Dardeau said the people should be able to decide when they want to replace their incumbent school board at the election poll and not forced through term limits.
         The attorney said the 247 page school voucher bill is being challenged by several school districts in the state. The new act permits Minimum Foundation Formula public school dollars are being used for vouchers so students can attend non public schools. Hammonds said the vouchers can even be used to home school your child.
         In other action, the school board:
–approved the lone quote of Lemoine Insurance Agency for workers compensation and property coverage of approximately $11,394 more than the same amount last year;
–received good news that sales tax collections for the month of May was $100,033 more than for May of last year.

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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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