Batiste sworn in to replace Hasten on School Board

PETER SILAS PASQUA news@postsouth.com
Earthley Batiste is sworn in by Iberville Parish School Board attorney Lou Delahaye during the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night. Batiste replaces her late sister Albertha D. Hasten as the District N representative. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE – Earthley Batiste was sworn in to replace the late Albertha D. Hasten on the Iberville Parish School Board at a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night at the board's office.

Batiste is the sister of Hasten, who passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 19 at the age of 62 at her home in White Castle. Hasten served as the District N representative for the past 17 years.

Batiste said she hopes to continue the work her sister did in the White Castle area. The board called for a special election to be held April 6 for the seat.

In other news, Glenn Koepp of Redistricting LLC presented four 13-member maps for board members to review for redistricting of the Iberville Parish School Board during a public hearing before the meeting.

The Board voted to reduce its members from 15 to 13 at its previous meeting.

"We will continue to do whatever modifications that will work and this board will accept," Koepp said. "It is up to the local school system to do something."

Tom Delahaye voiced concern over the Plaquemine area losing two districts in the proposed maps while White Castle remained with three stating "a white district" needed to be moved.

"I don't have a problem running in a minority district," Darlene Ourso countered.

Ourso, who voted against the change in November, said Sen. Rob Marionneaux had already passed legislation in June 2010 that states the board will be cut down to eight districts with one at-large member.

"This board should be drawing an eight-board plan," Ourso said. "We shouldn't even be discussing a 13-member plan. It looks like we are resistant to following the law. I am having a hard time understanding that. The Department of Justice has the paperwork and is waiting on us to draw the lines."

Koepp said if the board choose not to do anything, it is their choice.

"If not there would be some action to mandate you," Koepp said.

The board scheduled a special meeting for Dec. 17 to approve its 13-member redistricting plan with a public hearing for input.

"The people need a chance to see these maps," Dorothy Sansoni said. "Nothing should be done until the public can go over these maps."

In other news, Alnita Miller gave a presentation on how TAP, a five-year evaluation grant worth $10.5 million, works within the schools.

Miller said every payment in the system is based on performance and 30 percent of the payout money is still in the pot. All the money not used will be placed back in the budget, according to Miller.

More than 120 teachers have received over $1,000 through the program, Miller said.

The board also recognized Roderick LaMark Hill, a graduate of the former Shady Grove High School, for being inducted into the Southern University Hall of Fame.