by John Settle
Parkway High School Principal Dr. Nichole Bourgeouis continues to cost the Bossier Parish School Board (BPSB) big bucks, – and there is no end in sight. Like an ostrich, Bossier Superintendent D.C. Macken stands by his man, – ah woman, and the state law that says only he not the school board can remove a principal.
Bourgeois made national news last fall for having a Five Oaks High School football coach arrested prior to a playoff football game at Parkway High School. Litigation has been filed by the coach against Bourgeois and the BPSB over that incident. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association sanctioned Parkway by denying the school the ability to host playoff games this year.
Parkway’s undefeated regular season team had to play its first 2 playoff games away from the friendly and convenient confines of its home stadium. Not only did these “away” games increase the costs for the school, but also for the students, families, and friends to travel to these games.
The first playoff game was Captain Shreve at Lee Hedges Stadium in Shreveport, a short drive. The out of pocket expenses to transport the team, cheer/pep/dance squad and the band was $894.20.
The second playoff game against East St. John was played in Reserve, Louisiana, which is 297 miles from Bossier City. The total expense for this trip, which required lodging and meals for the team, danceline, pep squad/cheerleaders, and band was $19,213.73.
Thus the total expense to Parkway for the LSHAA sanctions exceeded $20,000.00, – all because of the actions by Dr. Bourgeois. BPSB legal council advises that the Zachary and Covington playoff games would not have been home games under the rule of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).
Legal expenses on the pending suits involving the actions/inactions of Bourgeois exceed $71,000 through the month of December 2013. ( Additionally, the BPSB spent over $3,000.00 in legal fees dealing with the LHSAA sanctions.) These lawsuits will continue to cost taxpayer dollars in legal expenses and court costs, – and possibly major dollars if the plaintiffs, or one of them is successful. Seemingly the football coach has a slam dunk case against Bourgeois,– the only question being the amount of damages awarded.
Machen has his press machine in top gear to focus public attention away from the Parkway messes utilizing his high dollar PR hire Sonya Bales to churn out several positive press releases. Despite all the spin, over 500 Bossier residents and Parkway parents have electronically signed a petition to have the controversial Bourgeois removed from her job, and they should not be ignored. Bossier Parish voters can express their dissatisfaction in the fall elections for school board representatives Kay Padgett Byrd (District 12) and Barbara Rudd (District 11,) – but they cannot vote Machen out as Superintendent.