Across the board, Boffy crushes Bayard

by Leslie Turk

Louisiana Teacher of the Year Holly Boffy handily defeated incumbent BESE member Dale Bayard, securing every single Lafayette Parish precinct in Saturday's primary.

Lafayette's Holly Boffy, Louisiana's 2010 Teacher of the Year, crushed longtime Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Dale Bayard of Lake Charles, sweeping the nine parishes in District 7 - and winning every single precinct in Lafayette Parish.

Boffy received 81,544 votes or 66 percent of the votes cast in the district, denying Bayard a fourth consecutive term.

The district includes most of Lafayette Parish and all of Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis, Vermilion and Vernon parishes.

Boffy is an education reform candidate backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The governor has been actively working to secure BESE's support for his education reform measures, which he believes requires a reconstitution of the board before it selects a new superintendent of education.

Boffy, director of professional development for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, also got the backing of Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby's Alliance for Better Classrooms. ABC favors rewarding schools that grow academically, holding local school boards more accountable for the academic achievement of the students in their districts and believes school districts should be able to dismiss teachers who are persistently ineffective. The alliance favors school choice, supporting tax credits, tax deductions, home schooling, virtual school and "any approach that results in a quality public education for Louisiana student(s)."

Jindal and ABC lost one supporter Saturday as incumbent Glenny Lee Buquet of Houma was defeated by Lottie Polozola Beebe of Breaux Bridge.

Incumbent Jim Garvey of Metairie was re-elected, and incumbent Keith Guice of Monroe was defeated by Jay Guillot of Ruston. Jindal backed Garvey and Guillot, and another education reform supporter, Chas Roemer of Baton Rouge, is in a runoff with Donald Songy of Prairieville.

In all, those supportive of the governor's agenda won three seats in the primary and lead in two races going to runoffs. If Roemer and Kira Orange Jones of New Orleans win their respective races, the governor will have eight of 11 seats on BESE (he appoints 3).

Read more about how Saturday's election and the general election will affect the makeup of BESE in The Advocate.

The Lake Charles American Press quoted Bayard saying prior to the election results he "felt like Davy Crockett at the Alamo with Sam Houston at the front door."