The Lafayette Parish School Board is looking to schedule a meeting with local lawmakers in advance of the upcoming legislative session to discuss some of the more controversial proposals that have recently been made by state Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek.
Pastorek wants to rein in the authority of local school boards in order to give superintendents more management control. State Rep. Steve Carter of Baton Rouge recently pre-filed a legislative package on the superintendent’s behalf; the bills seek six major changes to school boards:
- Bar individual school board members from interfering in personnel matters (hiring, firing, etc.) best left to the superintendent
- Require a super majority of board members to hire/fire a superintendent
- Clarify nepotism laws pertaining to school boards
- Replace salaries with per diems
- Prevent board members from obtaining school-system health insurance
- Limit board members to three terms (Lafayette Parish already has term limits)
Lafayette Parish School Board President Carl LaCombe says several board members have concerns over the proposals, which they would like to air with the local delegation. Not wanting to speak for any other board members, LaCombe says he’s apprehensive about giving superintendents too much power. “On two of the proposals you’re taking power that the board currently has and giving it to the superintendent,” he says. “That’s one step removed from the people being represented. How responsive is the school system going to be to the public if those changes go into effect?”
A public meeting between board members and area legislators is now being scheduled and could come as early as next week. Lacombe adds the board used to hold an annual breakfast with the local delegation, something he would like to see revived.