Walter Pierce

Chamber announces school reform proposals

by Walter Pierce

The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is the latest entity to come out in favor of school board reform. At a noon press conference today, chamber leadership unveiled a position paper dedicated to revamping the way school boards operate, and to altering the dynamic between boards and superintendents. The proposals echo points in the so-called Pastorek Plan, as well as a package of bills pre-filed by Baton Rouge state Rep. Steve Carter.

The chamber’s board voted recently to support school board reform, and in a meeting earlier this month informed members of the Lafayette Parish School Board of the position paper. The chamber’s plan includes seven suggestions:

â- School boards should function as policy-making bodies and should not be involved in personnel (hiring and firing) matters, which is the proper function of a superintendent.
â- School board members should possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
â- School board members should be compensated via per diems.
â- The state Department of Education should oversee governance training for new school board members.
â- Boundaries to prevent conflicts of interest and questions of personal gain should be established.
â- A two-thirds vote should be necessary to hire or fire a superintendent.
â- Term limits should be established for school board members (Lafayette Parish has already adopted term limits).