Calcasieu School Board extends revised uniform policy

Marlisa Harding

The Calcasieu Parish School Board voted to extend the revised uniform policy, enacted after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, until the end of the 2020-2021 school. The revised policy will allow students to continue to wear school appropriate but non-uniform clothing to campuses.

Mack Dellafosse, District 7, introduced the motion which was set to expire at the end of last semester. He expressed concern over families being unable to obtain uniforms from local retailers and limited resources from local non-profits looking to fill the gap.

“For me, it’s an easy decision. I think our community has been through enough…It’s goodwill for this board to extend this.”

Eric Tarver, District 8, expressed some hesitation at the motion stating he wanted to ensure that it didn’t become a permanent policy. “The reason we have a policy – those reasons are still there. The shield that it provides for the people that need it the most, those people are still there. We shouldn’t do away with it flippantly.”

In support of the motion, Erin Davison, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana executive director, spoke on a blue card stating that the financial responsibility of replacing uniforms in the midst of COVID-19’s economic challenges and hurricane recovery would be too great of a burden upon families. Similarly, Skylar Olivier, Lake Charles, agreed with extending the hold on uniforms stating, “Uniforms? Is this really a debate?…Some kids can’t even eat.”

The vote was passed 14 to one with Damon Hardesty, District 9, being the lone dissenter stating that some campuses  are already moving to re-start the old uniform policy.

Later in the meeting, Fred Hardy, District two, spoke of a need to increase publicity regarding the bid process for contractors interested in working on the district’s nearly $300 million worth of repairs, especially in regards to minority contractors. “I think the big issue here is (By Marlisa Harding

mharding@americanpress.com

The Calcasieu Parish School Board voted to extend the revised uniform policy, enacted after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, until the end of the 2020-2021 school. The revised policy will allow students to continue to wear school appropriate but non-uniform clothing to campuses.

Mack Dellafosse, District 7, introduced the motion which was set to expire at the end of last semester. He expressed concern over families being unable to obtain uniforms from local retailers and limited resources from local non-profits looking to fill the gap.

“For me, it’s an easy decision. I think our community has been through enough…It’s goodwill for this board to extend this.”

Eric Tarver, District 8, expressed some hesitation at the motion stating he wanted to ensure that it didn’t become a permanent policy. “The reason we have a policy – those reasons are still there. The shield that it provides for the people that need it the most, those people are still there. We shouldn’t do away with it flippantly.”

In support of the motion, Erin Davison, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana executive director, spoke on a blue card stating that the financial responsibility of replacing uniforms in the midst of COVID-19’s economic challenges and hurricane recovery would be too great of a burden upon families. Similarly, Skylar Olivier, Lake Charles, agreed with extending the hold on uniforms stating, “Uniforms? Is this really a debate?…Some kids can’t even eat.”

The vote was passed 14 to one with Damon Hardesty, District 9, being the lone dissenter stating that some campuses  are already moving to re-start the old uniform policy.

Later in the meeting, Fred Hardy, District two, spoke of a need to increase publicity regarding the bid process for contractors interested in working on the district’s nearly $300 million worth of repairs, especially in regards to minority contractors. “I think the big issue here is (that) when I look at this amount of money, I think local people ought to be here. We need to make sure our local tax paying people get a chance to participate in this.”

Karl Bruchhaus, superintendent, stated that informational sessions will soon be held for interested contractors and that the district’s website also maintains a current database of open projects.

Board members also voted unanimously to extend the COVID Emergency Paid Sick Leave, part of CARES Act, which provides paychecks while employees are recovering or taking care of a loved one with COVID-19. With 4,377 COVID-19 staff related absences last year, Skylar Fontenot, risk manager, stated that the extension will prove to be a useful and necessary tool.that) when I look at this amount of money, I think local people ought to be here. We need to make sure our local tax paying people get a chance to participate in this.”

Karl Bruchhaus, superintendent, stated that informational sessions will soon be held for interested contractors and that the district’s website also maintains a current database of open projects.

Board members also voted unanimously to extend the COVID Emergency Paid Sick Leave, part of CARES Act, which provides paychecks while employees are recovering or taking care of a loved one with COVID-19. With 4,377 COVID-19 staff related absences last year, Skylar Fontenot, risk manager, stated that the extension will prove to be a useful and necessary tool.CPSB

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