Category: Louisiana Education

Louisiana education continues to be the political football for everyone

Top 2 Reasons to Vote NO on Saturday

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Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

This article is the eighteenth in this series on the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax-and-spend-and-debt plan.  Here are the Top 2 Reasons to vote “NO” on Saturday.  For those who missed Reasons #10 and #9, click here, and for Reasons #8, #7, and #6, here.  For Reasons #5, #4, and #3, click here.

My Top 10[2]Reason #2.  We Must Never Reward Misconduct, Much Less Lawbreaking, by Public Officials

Outrageously, there are times when public officials knowingly ditch the truth, intimidate employees, purposely ignore or defeat the public’s “right to know,” and even sometimes break the law, to grab (even more) taxpayer money.  When they do, the public must directly act against those officials, or it’s on us. 

The CPSB is guilty of all of these, and the appropriate, initial response is to vote “NO” on Saturday.  Any other outcome effectively rewards our school system for its violations Read more

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Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO May 2nd: #5, #4, #3‏

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#3-#4-#5
Elliott_StonecipherBy Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition. If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for brick and mortar projects. The election is next Saturday, May 2.)
April 25, 2015

This article is the new installment in my countdown of the Top 10 Reasons to vote “NO” on the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax-and-spend-and-debt plan. For those who missed Reasons #10 and #9, click here, and for Reasons #8, #7, and #6, here.

REASONS #5, #4, and #3:

#5. What We Don’t Know Always Hurts Us — This Time Particularly So

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Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO on May 2nd: #10, #9

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My Top 10by Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

As the Caddo Parish School Board has rolled-out its tax plan over the past weeks, the list of reasons for voters to kill it, and send the board and staff back to the drawing board, grows and grows.  Beginning here, I will boil the opposition case down to my Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO!

Elliott_StonecipherI began this months-long effort of research and writing last September.  This article is the fifteenth in the series.  I hope and trust the work explains to Caddo residents that taxing and spending and borrowing is already strangling the economic life out of our parish.  Passing this plan will certainly hasten that process.

TOP 10 REASONS TO VOTE “NO” ON MAY 2ND!

#10.  This Plan is for Taxing-and-Spending-and-Debt, Not Better Educations for Our Children

This CPSB plan includes just about zero for the all-important academic side of the educational equation.  Neither does it do anything to Read more

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Forgotston: “Rep. Schroder misleads”

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CB Forgotston
CB Forgotston

by CB Forgotston

Louisiana is in desperate need of leadership.  The only thing worse than a vacuum in leadership is when one intentionally misleads our citizens.

Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington [addressing college students protesting budget cuts to Higher Ed], said the Legislature has little control because of constitutional dedications that protect other areas of the budget but leave higher education vulnerable. The Advocate, April 16, 2015

Rep. Schroder misleads
Rep. Schroder misleads

Further, Schroder says: “Our hands are tied.“” Ibid.

The leges tell us that whenever there is a decline in state revenues and a corresponding need to reduce state spending the only places that can be cut are Healthcare and Higher Education. They say it is because Read more

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No CPSB Response to Its Graduation Rate Fail

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diplomaMillby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

News of our annual and awful Caddo school system graduation rate broke last week.  We graduated only 67.7% of our system’s Class of 2014. Elliott_Stonecipher

More honestly said, one-in-three Caddo Parish students stepped into official adulthood last year without a high school education.  We well know they were woefully unprepared for what awaited them.

As we yet again suffer digestion of this failing, we have heard no Read more

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CPSB Pays Big Bucks To Goree and Abrams– Chump Change for Teachers and Staff

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Opinion by John Settle

 Caddo Parish School Superintendent Lamar Goree likes to brag about how great the 5800 plus employees of the Caddo School Board are at the community forums “explaining” the upcoming $108 million bond issue vote on May 2. What he fails to say is how poorly they are paid– much less how much the board pays him as well as school board attorney Reginald Abrams. And not surprisingly he does not mention how many hours he and his staff have spent in efforts to indoctrinate teachers and staff in mandatory meetings held before and after school hours.

Last Man Standing

Goree was selected by default in November of 2013. The School Board had a split 6-6 vote along racial lines—and Goree was selected by unanimous vote after Tim Magner (a white candidate) withdrew his name in an effort to promote school unity.He signed a 3 year contract that commenced December 1 of that year with a minimum base salary at $200,000 per year; the contract provided for incentive bonuses Read more

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Caddo School Frustration That Must Be Fixed

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Educational Requirementsby Marion Marks

The LA Department of Education requires student have 63,720 minutes of teacher class contact time to meet school credit requirements.* In the 2014-15 Caddo high school calendar, and the one approved for next year (2015-16) there were NO extra day(s) built in for potential weather related closing. Both school calendars start the first day of class short one(1) day even before the calculation of lost weather days, when schools are closed! Caddo already lost four(4) days this year due to weather.

HighSchool-required classesA typical calendar day is calculated based on 360 minutes of classroom contact per day for classes. This normally computes to 177 days for students. To be prudent, schools normally build an extra day into the schedule, making 178 calendar days to allow for one inclement day. Usually in Louisiana that is enough. The one thing schools never want to do is Read more

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CPSB: As Many or More Schools, 1/3 Fewer Students

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Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage plan set for a May 2, 2015 election.)

The Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan, as many of us are now aware, is exclusively about brick and mortar.  If voters approve, the plan puts taxpayers on the hook for another $108,000,000 in bonded debt … for a list of three new schools plus eleven other building projects.   

Brick & Mortar
Brick & Mortar

Time has shown that a mix of “CPSB” and “brick and mortar” means the citizenry steps off into taxation quicksand.  The school board and administration have long and devoutly refused to make it their business to finally right-size the system by closing any more schools than it builds, even as its enrollment has steadily declined.  Board members will Read more

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Raw Number at CPSB Require Deeper Investigation

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by Marion Marks

Employment in CPSB system went from 6,142 to 5,810 between years 2012 and 2014. We know there are schools whose staff has vanished from these rolls due to the schools that have moved off the rolls. But the staff positions lost seem to be less teaching or student-contact positions and almost the same central office and administrative staff. Here are the actual financial comparisons of costs supplied by the CPSB.

Coding of expenses related to personnel has always been a moving target, as reassigning codes to define the role people play in the system can be a way to hide pay raises, cloud issues of department cuts and responsibility as well as make it difficult for the public to grasp what really is going on in the system. My contention is that every administrator under fire finds a way to recode data that shifts the focus away from failure. Bad Data

The fact that large numbers of employees Read more

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CPSB Tax Op: What We Don’t Know Will Hurt Us

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Elliott_Stonecipher(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage plan set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

Unhealthy Air_shreveport
Unhealthy Air

An unhealthy air is settling around the growing public debate about the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan.  In all my years of involvement in many, many such tax plans from and by many governmental bodies, I have never seen one as steeped in secrecy, and otherwise off-key, as this one.

It is clear to a growing number of us that our school board and administration are pushing this political op far too hard.  They are doing too many non-transparent and over-the-top Read more

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