The West Feliciana Parish School Board met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, December 18.
First, the board enjoyed musical performances from the WFHS Performance Choir students Sarah Morgan, who sang ‘Mary Did You Know,’ and Cierra Fountain, who sang ‘All I Want for Christmas is You.’
Haley Lavergne, grand prize winner of Interact Club’s International Peace Through Service Postcard Contest, was presented to the board. “Haley will represent what is best about our parish, our state and our nation. We are very proud about that,” said Superintendent Hollis Milton.
Twelve students ranging from first to tenth grade were recognized at the meeting for winning the school boards art contest, which focused on the new district purpose statement, “Student Success: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow!” “We are working very hard to communicate our purpose statement to our community. There are some wonderful pieces of art that demonstrate this statement. Bridget Plauche and I worked together to coordinate this as a way for the students to show what they think our purpose statements means,” said Superintendent Hollis Milton.
The winners from Bains Lower Elementary are first grader Jean-Marc Monceret in first place, first grader Adison Summers in second place, and first grader Ke’Ajah McQuirter in third place.
The winners from Bains Elementary School, all in fourth grade, are Mia Kincaid in first place and overall winner, Alana Smith in second place and Emma Kate Temple in third.
The winners from West Feliciana Middle are seventh grader Anna Delaney in first and overall winner, sixth grader Bethany McMorris in second and eighth grader Kyle sellers in third.
The winners from West Feliciana High are tenth grader Ashlynn Buzbee in first and overall winner, ninth grader Claudia Tully in second and tenth grader Caroline Leach in third.
Congratulations to all the art contest winners!
After the presentations, the school board discussed and approved a one year contract with a company called NoDropouts, which will provide online tutoring courses for students in the parish. The program is specifically designed to help students graduate and avoid dropping out of school. Tutoring will be available online to students ages 17 to 21 anytime of day or night so that those that may be currently out of school can coordinate around their work schedules.
The state accountability program is placing emphasis on high school graduation rates, so this program will help boost those numbers. As an added bonus, the state Minimum Foundation Program will fund the courses at no cost to the parish or students.
Students that participate will be given a laptop computer with access to the Internet and will be guided through the same curriculum that is taught in classrooms. Once all required courses are completed and passed, the student will receive a high school diploma.
West Feliciana will become one of 14 districts in the state to offer online courses like this to their students.
Next, the board heard an audit report from accountant Mike Schexnayder for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Schexnayder reported that the school system is in compliance with all state and federal laws. He stated that the school board along with the staff is following proper procedures.
Schexnayder reported that the school board general fund had revenues of $24,404,093 and expenses of $24,121,244, which left the overall general fund balance at $2.6 million. The remaining balance, which remains over 10 percent of the school boards annual operating expenses, puts the district in relatively good financial shape, however Schexnayder stated that they are at the bottom end of being good.
He also said, “Considering the challenges faced, this school board really had a great year.” Some of the major factors he referenced were the decrease in property taxes and increase in retirement.
Superintendent Milton then reported that the district will hold a community celebration on January 31 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium to celebrate becoming an A district.
The next school board meeting will be on January 29.