Monday, March 6th, The Winn Parish School Board convened at 5:30 PM for their regularly scheduled meeting. Among their business topics for the meeting was accepting the ‘Academics and Instruction Committee Report,’ which included the results of the ’23-’24 four-day school calendar survey issued to parents February 6th to the 17th. Though the results were initially presented in the committee meeting on February 27th, they were re-stated in the report read by Mrs. Long (District 7).
According to the data collected, 1,758 people participated and submitted a response to the survey, sixty-two percent were firmly for it, fifteen percent were mildly interested in the possible transition, eleven percent were firmly opposed, and the other remaining eleven percent were undecided, or neutral to the change. After reading the results, the board opened the floor to public comments. Many concerned parents, faculty and staff were present and eager to express their concerns, questions and criticisms. Critics of the survey allege that data integrity was an issue as participants were anonymous and could take the survey multiple times.
The urgency for able and qualified teachers wasn’t the only thing on the list brought to address by those in attendance; questions regarding the data security for the survey and its results, clarity on pay for all staff if such a change takes place, bus operation and routes, lack of communication and preparation between the board and the public, and the need for more community accessible after school care were just a few of the point in circulation that evening.
After closing public comments, the board moved on to a vote. Only four members, McManus (District 1), Vines (District 5), Riffe (District 6) and Taylor (District 9), voted yes. As a result, the ’23-’24 four-day school calendar did not pass. However, due to the sensitivity and tension surrounding the matter, Mrs. Long stated that a committee would be formed to allow readdressing, more research and better understanding. This meeting should occur Monday, April 3rd, at 5:30 PM.
The biggest concern of our school district and the leading reason this motion was said to be introduced is retaining certified teachers and guaranteeing the quality of education within the classroom for all students at all levels. Knowing that Louisiana is already short two-thousand certified teachers statewide puts even more strain on our district’s current plight. Whether you’re for it, opposed or undecided, now is the time to voice your needs and opinions to your district’s peers and the school board representative.
SCHOOL BOARD REPRESENTATIVES AND THEIR DISTRICTS:
Lacey McManus/District 1 (318-302-2427)
Harry Scott/District 2 (318-542-6294)
Amber Cox/District 3 (318-471-7783)
Michelle Carpenter/District 4 (318-413-2757)
Steve Vines/District 5 (318-413-1253)
Michael Riffe/District 6 (318-302-3171)
Joe Llaine Long/District 7 (318-413-4614)
Patrick J Howell/District 8 (318-623-8612)
Dan Taylor/District 9 (318-451-0456)
Joe Lynn Browning/District 10 (318-471-0192)
Lance Underwood/District 11 (318-374-0505)