Superintendent on the way out? | BCS Superintendent Smith’s job may be on the line

Published 8:00 am Sunday, July 22, 2012

With a small slip of the tongue toward the end of Thursday’s Bogalusa City School Board meeting, President Paul Kates may have inadvertently signaled that Louise Smith’s days are numbered as superintendent of Bogalusa City Schools.

Smith was not present at the meeting, having e-mailed Administrative Assistant Lois Adams that she was ill. Patricia Noto, supervisor of secondary education, was asked by Smith to fill in at the meeting.

After getting through the items on its agenda, the board went into executive session to continue its evaluation of Smith, which began at the last board meeting July 11. Upon the board’s return, Kates commented that the board went into the session to “discuss some personnel issues and we did resolve our issues.”

Immediately following, the board passed a motion that “no positions will be considered or filled in the school board office, administration or staff at this time.” A comment from the audience noted that most everyone agreed that “even at its current level the main office is overstaffed and we should be considering some reductions.”

Kates responded that there are currently two vacant jobs that will not be filled: Supervisor of Human Resources and Community Relations, vacated by Joanna Dillman, and Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance.

In response to a question regarding who will take over the duties of Stephanie Hoppen, who recently resigned from her position as Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance, Kates replied, “That will be the superintendent’s… whoever will be our new superintendent… whoever will be the superintendent…”

At that time Kates’ words were drowned out by an outburst of laughter and comments throughout the audience of 25 or more educators and parents.

Kates had nothing more to say on the subject at that time. However, when reached by telephone on Friday, Kates was a bit more forthcoming on the subject.

“We have to solve this issue, because we still haven’t resolved the issue,” he said. He continued, “I feel she (Smith) should bring in a doctor’s excuse to prove that she was ill.” According to policy, he said, the superintendent has to notify the board president if he or she will be absent from a board meeting. That was not done, he said.

Regarding the evaluation, he said that he has to address all the legal issues.

“She’s not performing her duties and she’s dropping her tasks on other people,” he said. “I don’t know where we’re going until we resolve the issues with the superintendent we have now.”

The board cannot announce the outcome of the evaluation until it has discussed it with the superintendent.

When asked if he had tried to contact her following the meeting on Thursday night, Kates replied, “I don’t have a number for her,” he said, noting that he normally contacts her at the school board office. However, he said, “We sent word that she needs to contact us and let us know something. I know she has my number.”

Continuing, Kates said, “I’m just trying to do this the right way. She needs to step up to the plate. The board is not satisfied with the decisions she is making, because she’s not making any.”

One of the rumors being circulated is that Smith has resigned from her position. When asked about that rumor, board member Calvin Hymel said, “We have received no official word from the board president.”

Smith, who was contacted for comment on the situation, said that she was in a meeting and could not talk at that time. She declined a request for a later interview.