The Vernon Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, September 7, and heard reports of a smooth opening of the school year, despite wildfires and power outages.
The Board passed a motion to advertise bids on propane for schools in Evans, Hicks and Simpson. Maintenance Director, Dwain Ducote, addressed the Board about new policy updates. He reported the Board must have the district’s operating budget posted to their website by September 30, according to new state guidelines.
Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, Anne Smith, updated the Board on the new K-5th grade math instruction, which is an updated version of the Eureka Method. Smith said teachers loved the new CKLA reading program for K-2nd grade. This is the first year the parish is using the program and teachers are pleased with it. The mCLASS with DIBELS 8th Edition was selected by the state as the approved literacy screener for grades K-3rd. Results will help teachers show student groups what they need to focus on.
Finance Director, Tim Ward, introduced Logan Morris with the Vernon Chamber of Commerce who asked the Board to consider the request of the Louisiana Economic Development Office to ask for a five-year tax exemption and five-year renewal option for Koppers Utility and Industrial Products. The School Board, the Sheriff, and the Police Jury are all being asked to consider this exemption. The company wants to build a plant on Pinewood Road near Rosepine that manufactures utility poles. The plant will be a $7.7 million direct investment in Vernon Parish and will generate 25 construction jobs and nine permanent positions. Even with the tax exemption, the plant would generate annual tax dollars of nearly $30,000, which could grow to almost $100,000 at the conclusion of five years. The Board will consider the item at their next meeting.
The Board also heard from Reverends Maurice Johnson and Carl Clark from the Leesville Ministerial Association about the 2023 food drive in area schools. The program had been suspended due to COVID restrictions but will return this year.
The Vernon School Board is seeking a $7 million bond issue on the November 18th ballot. Money will be for a new cafeteria and classrooms at Rosepine Elementary, which is one of the fastest growing in the parish.