Vernon Parish School Board – October 10, 2023

Vernon Parish Principals, L-R: Charlotte Hooks, Hornbeck; Brian Thompson, Pitkin; Jeffery Odom, Pickering High; Kristi Beasley, West Leesville Elementary; Susan Teegardin, Parkway Elementary; and Donita Poteat, Vernon Middle

The Vernon Parish School Board met in regular session Tuesday, October 10, at the Central Office in Leesville.  It was a day of business motions, many congratulations and awards, plus news on recently awarded grants to Vernon Parish Schools.  Board members approved motions to accept employee retirements, budget amendments related to personnel, authorized the president to pay claims, and approved 2024 meeting dates.  The meeting dates are posted on the Board’s website.

On the report from Finance Director Tim Ward, Board members accepted a bid from Jim’s South Butane and Propane of Alexandria to provide propane for Simpson, Hicks, and Evans.  Ward was recognized by Superintendent James Williams for receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School and Business Officials.  Multiple governmental agencies held several evaluations to determine the recipients.

Congratulations were in order to Hornbeck High, Parkway Elementary, Pickering High, Pitkin School, Vernon Middle School, and West Leesville Elementary.  They were lauded for their efforts by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as Energy Star Buildings.  These campuses were among the Top Twenty-Five percent in the nation for energy conserving buildings.  Representatives from Cenergistic, the School Board’s energy consulting partner, presented the awards and told the Board that they would like to clone the work of the six schools.  Since partnering with Cenergistic, the Vernon Parish school system has reduced energy costs by over forty percent.  The cost of utilities is the second largest budget line item for the Board.

Ms. Tracy Smith, HeadStart Instructional Coach, was recognized as October Employee of the Month by Mr. Jeff Taylor of Taylor and Sons Insurance.  Ms. Smith works with all members of the HeadStart and Birth-5 Programs.

The final good news of the meeting came from Lisa Lohman of the Curriculum Department.  Lohman announced that Anacoco, Evans, Leesville, Pickering, Pitkin, and Simpson were all awarded Mirror Grants.  These grants will allow students to earn certification in business, retail, or customer service, easing their way into the work force.  Lohman explained it as basically free money at no cost to the Vernon Parish School Board.

Following the meeting, the Board members convened for lunch before they began a five-hour session in ethics and accountability conducted by the Board’s legal representatives.