(Donna Price / American Press)
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said he requested the $1 million capital improvement appropriation from the state of Louisiana at the request of Barbe coaches. The money, which must be approved by the Louisiana Bond Commission, would be used to put artificial turf on the Bucs' football field. Kleckley said he supports the appropriation and that the new field would save money on upkeep. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:21 AM
In an effort to get ahead of a possible $1 million capital improvement appropriation from the state of Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish School Board President R.L. Webb intends to give his colleagues a chance to voice their opinion about the potential windfall.
“On our next meeting agenda for Tuesday I will have a measure for the board to either to accept or reject the money,” he told the American Press on Tuesday.
On Monday, the American Press learned that a large part of the money would be used to install synthetic turf at Barbe High, with the rest divided among other athletic facilities at the school.
Webb said there is a lot “of flack” over the announcement.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, requested the money at the request of Barbe coaches. It was added to the state’s 2012 capital outlay budget, which is already over a billion dollars.
The appropriation is ranked priority two.
Webb said the school board has not gotten official word about if the money will be approved. A final decision will be made by the state’s Bond Commission.
Kleckley said he supports the appropriation, stating that the new field would save money on upkeep.
Webb wants a decision made in July instead of waiting until later in the year.
He commented that the timing of the appropriation gives him concern, especially when educational programs like “CODAFIL are being cut” by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.
Webb called the school board administration this week to find out if the state formally announced if a check was destined to come to the parish.
“I was told we have nothing officially,” he said.
Karl Bruchhaus, the school board’s chief financial officer recalled only a “few times” that he saw capital outlay appropriations made to a school system like the one Kleckley is backing.
“This is not a common occurrence,” he said.
Bruchhaus was contacted by the Jindal administration about the money. He filled out a preliminary form at the state’s request.
“They told us that there was a million in allocation for capital outlay for Calcasieu Parish. Rep. Kleckley contacted me afterwards and said the paperwork would get the ball rolling.”
Bruchhaus said he talked to Superintendent Wayne Savoy about the appropriation.
Bruchhaus said if the money is sent to the district, “it will be more like a grant. This is not something the district would have to repay.”
If the appropriation is allowed and the money ends up in Lake Charles, the school board would have to authorize bids for installation of the turf.
“Still, all of this is premature as far as the official aspect of it goes. The money could get bogged down at some level of state government and we may never see the money,” he said.
Posted By: Teacher and parent On: 7/5/2012
Title: "sleeping with the enemy"
Gentlemen - Calcasieu Parish teachers along with every other parish in this state are in the fight of our careers. Many of us are spending this summer realigning curriculum to new standards, while reeling from preliminary results of vam/cvr/compass, and gearing up for the battle to keep every available tax dollar in public schools where they are desperately needed. Chuck Kleckley is so far up Jindal's back pocket that there is a petition to have both of them recalled- and a counter-campaign by the Republican party to save Kleckley's derriere. Now your coaching staff has decided to shine a bright light on our fine parish, not by winning a state football championship, but by making a shady back room deal like those that have made Louisiana politics famous for decades now. Please show some respect for your fellow teachers, parish administrators, your families and yourselves. Lead by example and put your pants back on before your student athletes realize what you have done.
Posted By: a mother-a nurse-a caregiver to the elderly On: 7/5/2012
Title: STATE OF CONFUSION
Its gonna pass.....just like the vouchers n charter schools,healthcate n meals for kids.......there no better than people who get government assistance n drive new cars,living in new houses n their kids has better than two working parents..
All I can say to some of y'all,CHECK YOURSELF,...WHO PUT THEM IN OFFICE
Posted By: Aaron L On: 7/5/2012
Title: Save on long term upkeep and steer money away from artificial turfs and into the other 1000 students who could use it
If this sum of money is really approved by our bond commission, I'm leaving this state. I'm taking my state funded education and getting out of here. I can only hope that our government has half a brain to say that putting state money into a plastic grass instead of band, choir, science, or food for hungry kids is a pretty horrible decision.
Invest in all of the kids who don't always see the football field. Teach us about good art, good health, good food, good science. Get us to college with a better ACT prep, rather than a football scholarship. A long term investment in our kids brains is not stupid. Plastic grass is.
Posted By: lydia bergan On: 7/4/2012
Title: no priorities
What has happened to funding towards the arts?.... Barbes choir and band amoung the top ranked in the state. The equipment for athletics is fine and our track is perfect while Barbe has no auditorium. LCB failed as a school and even they have an aditoriun. Come on school board get your priorities straight. No child left behind? What about the children who are not athletes but first chair they're entire academic career? What happens to those kids? We need an aditorium not new turf. Who cares about turf when grass is fine?
Posted By: Student On: 7/4/2012
Title: BUILD AN AUDITORIUM
Build an auditorium. Barbe is one of the only high schools ANYWHERE that doesn't have an auditorium. It makes Barbe look stupid. Football has plenty.
Posted By: Shirley Cole On: 7/4/2012
Title: Poor little "Rich Kids" want a turf!!!
This is about the most rediculous request of money I have ever heard of. In this economy, when the public schools are being ripped off by these vouchers going to private schools, and they cant even feed our high school students a proper lunch serving (they get the same portions as a pre-k student) and Barbe district is the wealthiest in the parish already, their district needs to pay for this and be voted on by all the "Rich Kids" parents that live and go to school there. NOT STATE MONEY. Westlake got their turf after the Rams went to the state championship and the money came from LHSAA that the team earned with their hard work, ticket sales, blood, sweat and tears left on the field at the dome and then even came up short the money needed to turf the field that was over the 1million being requested by Barbe. The Westlake Recreation Department paid the remainder needed to fund the turf in exchange for letting the youth football teams getting to use the facilities instead of the refinery parking lot they had been playing in while breathing sour gas fumes making them sick as dogs. They have no right what so ever to that money. EARN IT! Teachers need raises and there are many other more important needs that money can be spent on.