School Board votes to decrease members

PETER SILAS PASQUA news@postsouth.com

The Iberville Parish School Board voted to approve a motion to reduce the number of members to 13 at its regularly scheduled meeting.

Glenn Koepp of Redistricting LLC will draft a new redistricting plan for the school board. The board currently has 15 members.

Michael Hebert Jr. introduced the motion to reduce the size of the board and it passed 11-2. Darlene Ourso and Pam George voted against the motion, while Hebert, Michael Barbee, Nancy Broussard, Tom Delahaye, Polly D. Higdon, Albertha Hasten, Glyna Kelley, Yolanda Laws, Melvin Lodge, Donald R. Patterson and Brian Willis cast for it. Dorothy Sansoni and Freddie Molden were absent from the meeting.

Broussard offered a substitute motion to reduce the board to eight members and Ourso motioned for Koepp to draw proposals for 9, 11 and 13-member boards instead.

Ourso's motion was denied by a vote of 9-3 and Broussard's motion failed for a lack of a second.

The board was also informed that the school system has applied for an $8 million grant that will provide virtual learning and dual credit courses for grades 5-12 in an effort to increase performance.

The grant is called Race to the Top and is a $4.35 billion U.S. Department of Education contest created to spur innovation and reforms.

The system received a grade of "D+" when performance scores were released by the Louisiana Department of Education recently.

"I was disappointed we didn't grow as much as we would have liked but the reason is we implemented several programs in our schools last year," Superintendent Edward Cancienne said. "It was a rough year but I think we have had a very good start this year."

Cancienne noted that the system's performance scores have grown 22 percent over the past four years from a school performance score of 68. The district's current score is 88, slightly up from a district performance score of 86.2 in 2011.

"Our goal is to be a strong "B" school system and I am confident we will get there," Cancienne said.

Plaquemine Senior High School increased its school performance score from 73.4 to 82.5 but remained a "D" school. White Castle High School increased their score from 74.2 to 84.3 and improved to a "D" school from "D-."

East Iberville Elementary/High School upped its score from 77.6 to 84.4 but also remained a grade of "D." Crescent Elementary/Junior High School's score increased to 104.7 from 102 keeping it a "C" school.

Iberville Elementary's school performance score increased from 79.7 to 84.8 but it too remained a "D" school. Dorseyville Elementary had minimal gains from a score of 96.1 to 97.2 and its school grade dropped from a "C+" to "C" school. Lastly, North Iberville Elementary's score increased from 84.7 to 92.4 but its grade remained a "D."