Where the Caddo Sidewalk Stops…

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Why a Run-Away School Administration and
Board
Need to be Told “NO!”

reinvest-in-caddo-january-2015-1-638by Marion Marks

Creating a great marketing title for a tax election is as critical a component for gaining support as anything, and Caddo Parish officials have an excellent record for constructively wording tax plans to obtain voter approval. Reinvest in Caddo, the name chosen by the Caddo Parish School Board(CPSB) for the bond election on the May 2nd ballot appears, on the surface, to be no more than a renewal of existing taxes. However the facts, chemistry and larger picture for Caddo is far more sinister as school leadership has crafted behind the scenes a long-range plan citizens must struggle to comprehend. The leadership of both the CPSB and the administration have resisted giving citizens a clear picture of the ramifications of their plans.

Empty Glass
Scenario…

The Caddo School School Administration(CPSA) and the CPSB have constructed scenarios the culminate in the current plan, and since Superintendent Goree was approved to take control from failed superintendent Gerald Dawkins in 2014 back-room maneuvers have only heated up. Currently CPSB is represented by these members:

Caddo Parish School Board

Member

District

Partisan
Affiliation

Assumed
Office

Term
Ends

Steve Riall

District 1

Republican

2011

2018

Jasmine R. Green

District 2

Democratic

2011

2018

Margaret A. Brown

District 3

Democratic

2015

2018

Susannah Walter Poljak

District 4

Independent

2015

2018

Bonita Douzart

District 5

Democratic

2015

2018

Mary A. Trammel

District 6

Democratic

2011

2018

Raymond E. Green

District 7

Democratic

2015

2018

Denee Locke

District 8

Republican

2015

2018

Barry F. Rachal

District 9

Republican

2007

2018

Larry Ramsey

District 10

Republican

2003

2018

Kacee Hargrave Kirschvink

District 11

Republican

2015

2018

Dottie H. Bell

District 12

Democratic

2007

2018

Recruits...
Recruits…

I was introduced (recruited to support!) the bond proposal when I was asked to attend a Transformational School Tour on December 17th, 2014. My review of this tour and the effectiveness of the effort I covered in an article on Forward-Now.com. It remains my contention that this form of institutional shake-up effectively informs the community, students and school personnel that the status quo cannot and will not be allowed to continue. Factually this policy will only continue to be effective if similar guidance is taken with other failing schools.

Success-Failure IntersectionKnowing the score card of the failing schools, even while noting problems with the grading system utilized in measuring the effectiveness of the schools, allows all parties to determine if the inertia of the system is moving forward or falling further backwards. No system remains in the same state, and falling further behind trying to put the fires out by throwing money at the problems has proven ineffective for a number of years. The schools that have earned a score of “F” must be put on the same Transitional Zone path or, as I believe has been already proven the best course, closed and the population consolidated with another school to improve the resultant population.

YOU MUST VOTE-ElliottThe facts researched and explained by Elliott Stonecipher at the BNA meeting Tuesday night [Video from meeting] certainly clarify the unflattering, to say the least, trend in Caddo Parish. For thirty years, negative national issues aside, the city-parish leadership has demonstrated policies that resulted in very negative climate and damage to the general state of the city and parish. Stonecipher interprets the evidence as a resounding failure of leadership, to the extent that punitive taxes have driven citizens away from Caddo in large numbers, applying the descriptive term “Outward Migration” to the actions. Clear, accurate data cannot be refuted, and, similar to Stonecipher, my interpretation includes caveats that poor decisions in leadership were always magnified by greed and the support of powerful allies who remained protected by elected officials. To this day we find litigation that attempts to correct wrongs committed by powerful, protected developers, and Stonecipher refers to some in his presentation. Too many questions like these need exhaustive investigation before voters should endorse new programs that fail to clean up old messes.

Power of Transformational Leadership
Time to rethink options “clean the slate!”

The cost of maintenance of current campuses was presented by CPSA (Caddo Parish School Administration) as rationale for closing many of the schools. In this chart it is easily found that maintenance, as computed by CPSA is a fraction of the actual expense of the educational process. By these same statistical methodologies I could demonstrate that the cost, per capita, of each school for maintaining the CPSA is also equally expensive, and that the CPSA should be shut down for logical reasons in the same way they are attempting to punish neighborhoods by closing some successful schools. The costs for the Transformational Zone Schools seems a bargain by comparison!

Bridge ClosedToo many questions need to be answered by the CPSA and the CPSB must reverse their endorsement of the bond prior to the May 2 election. Constructive leadership to fix more failed schools through consolidation and closing other failed schools seems far more appropriate than the current plan on the table. More discussion and more will be revealed in meeting scheduled to discuss the bond election.

 

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