Lafayette Parish School Board announces gain in performance

Charles Long

Twitter: @CharlieLong1698

Lafayette Parish School Board announces a gain in performance at their meeting on Nov. 23, 2019. Photo by Charles Long

The Lafayette Parish School Board announced that parish schools had sustained a “B” letter grade and experienced a gain in overall performance this school year.

The school superintendent, Irma Trosclair, opened the meeting by explaining which schools in the parish had made significant improvements.

“Overall, nine schools improved by an entire letter grade,” Trosclair said. “LPSS has five equity honorees identified by the state and 16 labeled as Top Gains schools.”

Among the specific schools she mentioned, Trosclair singled out Early College Academy, a local high school accepting an award for being a National Blue Ribbon School.

“Early College Academy maintained the highest overall school performance score at 134.9,” Trosclair said.

After elaborating on the improvements in the parish, the school board allowed presentations and discussed their agenda for the meeting.

One of the most contentious items discussed on the agenda was the 2002 half-cent sales tax.

District 8 representative Erick Knezek helped explain the purpose of it to the members of the public who had questions about what it included.

“The intent of this was to make sure that we set aside something for raises,” Knezek said. “Despite us making the argument that many of us feel that financially if we put this money into a salary increase, that it is guaranteed to the staff for the rest of the career and it goes into their retirement, we have failed many times making that argument.”

“If we set 20 percent of it aside for salary every year, the other 80 percent can still be paid as a one-time disbursement at the end of the year,” Knezek said.

The topic ended up not being voted on and was sent for review by the Blue Ribbon Committee.

This meeting marked the last for Knezek, who was voted out in the Oct. 12 election. He spent five years on the Lafayette Parish School Board from 2014-2019 and thanked his fellow board members and the public for allowing him to serve in public office.

“It’s been a tremendous opportunity for me to remember where we started and where we are now,” Knezek said. “The comprehensive rezoning, first time in over two decades, was so difficult for all of us, but we had the courage to do it.”

He continued to reflect on the accomplishments the school board made in the parish during his tenure.

“One of the biggest achievements we achieved was the SRO program,” Knezek said. “Now we can rest easy knowing that we have a police officer at every one of our schools. That’s important that we took that stance. I’m very proud of that.”

Knezek will be replaced by Hannah Smith Mason, the winner of the Oct. 12 election for District 8 School Board Representative.

Following the 2019 school year, the Lafayette Parish School Board announced that parish schools had sustained a ‘B’ letter grade.

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