Calcasieu School Board denies ITEP application

LaGrange presents innovative plans for 19-20 school year

The Calcasieu Parish School Board voted six to five Tuesday to deny an Industrial Tax Exemption Program application filed by Instrument and Valve Services Company.

The application was recommended by CPSB staff to be approved based on the company’s expected economic impact through its job creation and future tax collections. The project will be an add-on to the company’s current local presence and is estimated to create 25 new jobs and retain 11 current jobs.

Bliss Bujard questioned the trustworthiness of the projections asking, “What stops these guys from exaggerating these numbers? They get this passed, and there’s no repercussions.”

Wilfred Bourne, CFO, said under then newest iteration of ITEP rules, companies are monitored more closely by the state department, which then sends the projections to local entities.

“We’re almost in a situation where we’re having to take their (State Board of Commerce and Industry) word for it…We’re trying to do our due diligence,” Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus said.

Administrators from LaGrange High School later presented a “School of Innovation” plan to board members as an effort to move the school off of the state’s Urgent Intervention Required list and out of the district’s R3 Zone. Addressing the school’s academic and discipline issues, Shanice Williams, assistant principal, outlined the proposal, which includes moving to a four-by-one block schedule, implementing co-teaching within each major content classroom and restructuring its response to intervention practices.

The new plan will “increase teacher capacity,” “increase student achievement” and “establish and maintain a more orderly school environment,” Williams said.

The innovation will also benefit students in the school’s university program, she said, by enhancing their schedule to more closely mirror that of a traditional college campus. The motion was approved unanimously and with ardent support from board members and present supporters.

Later in the meeting, the board voted to move Washington-Marion Magnet High School Magnet University Program to LaGrange High School with W-M students returning to their home school for extracurricular activities. The program survived last year on the contingency that it recruit 30 qualified students for the 2019-20 school year. The quota was not met, with only one candidate deemed eligible from the feeder school. The motion passed with one dissent from Fred Hardy, who said, “Magnet means to bring things to and not take things away.”

The district also honored its awardwinning students, teachers, librarians and counselors during the meeting. Students of the Year: Brenna Bernhardt, T.S. Cooley Elementary; Jacob St. Mary, S.J. Welsh Middle; and David Spicer, Sulphur High. Teachers of the Year: Tiffani Carlin, Brentwood Elementary; Lacey Blocker, Maplewood Middle; and Hope Berry, Bell City High. Librarians of the Year: Kristi Fontenot, Cypress Cove Elementary; Jeni Anderson, Frasch Elementary; Hope Myers, Maplewood Middle; and Kayla Little, Barbe High School. Counselors of the Year: Aimee Hamblen, St. John Elementary; Vickie Wynn, W.W. Lewis Middle; and Julie Doland, Bell City High.

””CPSB District UpdateSpecial to the American Press