Board committees here reports; public hearing on millages set
The Acadia Parish School Board’s Personnel/Insurance/Curriculum Committee meeting heard several reports that were transferred to the full board when it met Wednesday evening.
The Budget/Finance Committee did the same, including reports on the Do-Re-ME! pilot program, changes to the Pupil Progression Plan for 2013-14 and the Community Eligibity Program.
Briefly, Dr. Doug Chance alerted the board that, due to the ice storm earlier this year, the federal on-site review of the Head Start program had to be rescheduled for May 5.
Superintendent John Bourque then presented letters from schools participating in the Do-Re-ME! program on how it has worked for them.
Letters were sent in from Church Point Elementary, Central Rayne Kindergarten, Iota Elementary, Crowley Kindergarten and Estherwood.
Church Point’s letter explained that the program has been a great success, benefiting both the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at the school.
“Not only is it a fun and exciting time for the students to move and express themselves positively, but research has shown that music engages the areas of the brain involved in paying attention and making predictions,” the letter said.
The letter was signed by the school’s eight kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teachers.
Central Rayne Kindergarten Principal Christy Higginbotham penned her letter for the school and complimented the program as well.
“The instructors, Mrs. Christine Balfa and Ms. Alyce Ray, have worked to make the program both fun and educational. Activities have addressed math and reading skills, as well as gross motor development,” wrote Higginbotham.
Estherwood listed the advantages of Do-Re-ME! as a program that reinforces and teaches numerous skills like beginning and ending sounds, vocabulary, hand/eye coordination, rhythm and rhyme, learning through movement and listening skills, among many more.
Iota Elementary’s letter was also penned by its principal, Charles Barbier.
“Our students have thoroughly enjoyed this program, and it is encouraging to see the smiles on the students’ faces knowing that they are enjoying it. It is reassuring not only to my teachers, but also to me as the administrator, to have this music program in our school that supports the Common Core Standards, the State of Louisiana academic benchmarks and the National Standards of Music Education,” he wrote.
Finally, Crowley Kindergarten Principal Ida G. Yeager penned her school’s letter which also complimented the Do-Re-ME!
“The activities presented in the music program have addressed reading and math skills and gross motor development. The singing and moving to the music give the children a chance to move freely and practice skills learned in the classroom,” she said in her letter.
Bourque urged the board to see the program in action before casting their votes, admitting his hesitance to the program before seeing it himself.
Do-Re-ME! was implemented in the five schools this year as a pilot program, but to sustain it, the board would have to pledge $140,000 for two teachers and two aides.
It is that number that made members of the Personnel/Insurance/Curriculum Committee a bit hesitant.
Member Lynn Shamsie proposed by motion to send the item to the full board to give the board a chance to mull over the numbers and the program and to get the full board’s opinion on the matter before deciding on implementing the program on its own funds.
The committee also learned that, due to the implementation of Common Core and the uncertainty by the state as to how the change will effect LEAP scores, a one-year transitional waiver has been allowed for school districts in the state.
In Acadia Parish, Dianna Guidry, supervisor of testing and evaluation for the parish, explained that the parish will treat it as follows: If a student passes academically, but fails the LEAP test, he or she may still move onto fifth or ninth grade by attending summer remediation and retesting. The decision will then fall to the superintendent with all things being considered.
Earlier in the evening, the board held a short special session in order to advertise a public hearing to continue existing millages for the 2014 tax year Wednesday night.
In a very brief session, the board voted 7-0 with Gene Daigle absent, to approve the advertisement of the public hearing in the official journal.
The public hearing is set for the board’s monthly meeting on Monday, June 2, at 5 p.m. in the board room of the board office, located at 2402 N. Parkerson Ave. in Crowley.
The meeting, as all are, will be open to the public. During this meeting, specifically however, the board will receive comments on the millage rates for the 2014 tax year and will consider the adoption of said rates by roll call vote.
Five millages will be considered, three for the general fund and two for the maintenance fund. Considered will be:
• Constitutional tax, general fund, 5.15 mills
• School maintenance, general fund, 5.02 mills
• Special school tax, general fund, 15.04 mills
• Fifth Ward maintenance, maintenance funds, 13.45 mills
• Consolidated School District 8, maintenance funds, 10 mills