‘Tis the season, I suppose. With its massive property tax – and more? – election coming next spring, our Caddo Parish School Board and sizable central office staff are now rolling out another “strategic plan.” The current draft of this latest one is a 37-pager (here).
With Kisatchie Forest-like density, the new plan is entitled “Re-Imagine Caddo: The Plan for Excellence.” We should take care not to mistake it for last year’s “Re-Invest in Caddo” plan, or its notorious tax-and-spend-on-steroids predecessor, “Vision 2020.“
Even our school board members are not likely to read this one, and Superintendent Lamar Goree’s appeals notwithstanding, neither is the public. Here is a sample paragraph, verbatim, from Page 9 to give readers a feel for that to which we are treated:
“1. Implement RtI (Response to Intervention) with fidelity including Read more
As if the Caddo Parish School Board (CPSB) did not have enough PR problems, the 6 black board members have further dug their popularity grave deeper with the voters of District 11 which encompasses most of Southern Hills. In what can only be classified as a major surprise, if not shock, the CPSB selected Shalanda Swift-Watkins to the District 11 seat until the fall elections. The back story on this board selection is just as interesting as the politic dynamics that resulted in the selection of a black lady to represent an overwhelmingly white district. (Voter registration is District 11 is 73% white, 24% black and 3% other.)
Kirschvinck, known to most as Kaycee Hargrove, unseated 2 term incumbent Ginger Armstrong in last fall’s primary election; Parker Ward was a distance third. Kaycee received substantial campaign funds from a then new formed education PAC that successfully supported 4 other challengers to incumbent board members. The motivation of the education PAC became quite obvious at the first meeting of the newly elected Board in Read more
Sadly, a recently elected school board member, Kacee Hargrave Kirschvink, who had good experience in handling difficult matters has resigned. However, the CPSB is using strings and poor judgement in an attempt to fill the seat in haste and without necessary time for many potential good candidates to consider running for the open seat. The deadline of seven (7) days to file for the open seatselection is unnecessarily short, even when the board has twenty (20) days to fill the temporary seat as suggested.
It appears the haste will force citizens to make a knee-jerk decision because the timeline is dictated by forces the CPSB can claim as exigent conditions. Sadly for District Eleven, the vacancy leaves a hole in the board’s ability to ram through Read more
I still believe that Superintendent Goree had raised the morale and the stakes for many of the failing schools he was saddled with, but the path he and the board must navigate are littered with bodies and remnants of mines from those whose agenda is marked by personal territories and profits for Read more
When the Caddo Parish School Board’s error-plagued tax plan failed at the polls yesterday, it was a much bigger deal than most will conclude. The outcome beat the conventional wisdom and broad expectation well established in our electoral behavior: “These things always pass.”
“These things” are the poison which has brought Caddo to its economic and population-stagnation knees.
“These things” is code for gatherings of powerful for-profit interests whenever they decide business is slow enough here to need a public bond issue … run through some local governmental body. “Hey, guys, let’s get those school board people to slap together a list of new schools and stuff in one of those bond deals and get Read more
Monday morning quarterbacks always have 20-20 vision interpreting election results, and the two bond issues Saturday, that had different results, are no exception. Here is my simplistic interpretation of why one passed and another failed.
The Biomed Bond which cost taxpayers the least of the two passed by a handy margin for the following reasons:
Well-targeted print, air-wave advertising messages that were easy for general public to translate into a “Yes” vote.Read more
There are so many people telling voters so much about the two bond issues on the ballot tomorrow that many people tell me the noise is deafening. What I do know is that there are lots of people worried about the results of the election who won’t take the time to vote, and worse yet they will be the loudest after the election complaining about the results.
All I am certain of is that the majority of voters –those who cast a ballot– will have doubt about their vote after they cast it, and it will cause many heart burn long after the vote is cast. I also believe that my all-time contention of “following the money” holds true here as much as it ever will. Those with a vested interest in construction and the business world around schools and the medical community -NOT THE TEACHERS & MEDICAL STAFF- are the loudest in generating business for themselves. Also, the community of election workers, the political machinery and the parasites living off the real workers are less likely to give best guidance on the issues behind the bond money that will be raised by taxes.
Seldom have I spoken against a bond election, because bond monies in the past were generators of jobs, education improvements and a better futureRead more