Nathan Stubbs

School Board, Council to begin joint quarterly meetings

by Nathan Stubbs

The Lafayette Parish School Board and the City-Parish Council, along with City-Parish President Joey Durel and UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie, have agreed to conduct joint quarterly meetings beginning next month. The first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. in the council auditorium at City Hall. It will represent the first time the school board and council have met together for any reason other than reapportionment following a census. The meetings aim to foster better planning and coordinating between the parish’s government entities.

Council President Don Bertrand says he and School Board President Carl LaCombe have been discussing the idea of joint meetings since the beginning of the year. “Hopefully what we’re doing,” he says, “is knocking down all the silos so that we’re building relationships and communicating with one another about what the specific issues are and how we all relate to solving problems, whether it be infrastructure, transportation, schools, poverty, the whole nine yards.” The meetings will alternate between the council auditorium and the school board office. Bertrand says other stakeholders, including town mayors, chambers of commerce and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority are also being invited to participate.

Both the council and the school board will each have the ability to act in its own capacity at the public meetings. However, Bertrands says the agenda for the Dec. 9 meeting, which will focus on development of the parish’s comprehensive plan, will contain only disucussion items. Bertrand says that future meetings will explore ways the different entities may be able to consolidate resources. “Take transportation,” he says. “We have a Lafayette city bus system. We have a parish school bus system. UL also has a bus system. What can we do to better use our transportation dollars as a group, as an entire parish? Are there things that we can work together towards? It’s about planning and talking about how we can work together in the future to save taxpayer dollars.”