Beauregard School Board swears in new members

The Beauregard Parish School Board swore in its newest members this week, as the panel held their first meeting of the new year.

Newly elected board members Casey Jones, Heather “Nikki” Weldon, and Garrett Greene officially began their terms Thursday night, after most had spent the past weeks gathering opinions from their districts about how to best represent their constituents.

For Weldon, she said the evening was an exciting moment to experience with her family.

“I’m beyond excited about serving. I have heard the issues from those in my area and I really hope to provide a greater transparency between the school board and the teachers,” Weldon stated.

Weldon, who took over the District 5 seat from outgoing member Don Gray, told the American Press that she has been collaborating with principals, teachers, parents and students to put together a list of items to focus on.

Of those, she said she intends to pick up a longfought battle to hold the board accountable for a weight room building it had agreed to build at the East Beauregard High School campus, but never followed through on.

The weight room was an item often brought up for discussion by Don Gray and L.D. Spears, who lost his seat to Greene in the October election, over the past two years. By the summer of 2018, the board had reached a stalemate over the project as it could not get a majority vote to approve a budget for the building.

While plans had been reviewed to build a new structure, some board members expressed their concern that a proposed budget of $400,000 to build a new facility had not been what the full panel had agreed to when it approved the item’s addition to a “wish list” created after a $3 million bond item had been approved by voters for campus improvements throughout the school district.

Board member Wesley Taylor had repeatedly expressed his concerns over building a new facility when he felt the board had approved a renovation of the existing building. Both Spears and Gray had stated that they believed the current building would be too costly to renovate, but neither could get a majority vote to bring the item to fruition.

“There are a few projects from the past that were not completed for East Beauregard High School that I would like some clarification on,” Weldon stated.

During the meeting, the board also unanimously approved the reappointment of board president David Vidrine and vice president Darrin Manuel to their respected positions. No other nominees were suggested for the appointments.

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