Board adopts 2013-14 school calendar

Published 6:21 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Washington Parish School System’s calendar for the upcoming school year is set.

Superintendent Darrell Fairburn said the system’s teachers recently had an opportunity to cast their vote on two calendar options. The one he recommended for approval during Thursday’s school board meeting was the more popular choice, having won the teachers’ vote by a margin of 487 to eight.

In the adopted calendar, students begin school Aug. 9 and have their last day on May 22, and school is closed the entire week of the fair.

The calendar includes 64,980 instructional minutes, where the state-mandated minimum is 63,720 instructional minutes. That means 3 1/2 emergency days are built into the calendar.

The board elected to renew its contract with Norris Insurance Consultant, at an annual fee of $8,600 for a three-year period.

Additionally, the board voted to renew its property insurance at a premium of $757,859, declining to take terrorism coverage. That would have cost an additional $8,000.

A fee commitment with the firm of Postlewaite and Netterville to perform the audit the general purpose financial statements for a three-year period beginning with the 2013-14 school year was approved, at a base of $32,000 per year for three major programs and $2,850 per year for each additional major program.

Director of Special Education Charlotte Fasola recognized two social work interns. Melissa Mayfield is finishing up a bachelor’s degree in social work. She is helping in the areas of Pine, Varnado and Angie and working with the social skills group at the alternative school, and master’s level social work intern Pearlie Taylor is helping at Mt. Hermon School and Franklinton Elementary School.

“That’s free service to the school system, and they are fabulous,” Fasola said. “They’re doing a really good job.”

The interns are being supervised by Keatha Moses Franklin, the district’s newly hired social worker, Fasola said.

In his superintendent’s report, Fairburn recognized Billy Brignac, supervisor of the system’s vocational programs. The programs recently had a thorough Carl Perkins audit.

The first part of the audit, Brignac said, was an onsite review of graduation plans, equipment and safety requirements in the schools’ shops. That part of the audit went well, with no major issues found, he said.

The audit also included a desk review. Information was gathered at the central office and each of the four high schools and taken to Baton Rouge for review. Brignac said the program passed each of the 41 indicators looked at by the state department. In addition to Brignac, the schools’ principals, counselors and career and technical teachers worked to prepare for the audit.

“We all worked hard for about three months getting ready for this, but we did very well,” he said. “So I was pleased to hear that, and we’ll be getting a file report from the state department.”

Fairburn said has been meeting with school faculties and civic groups, giving a presentation about the tax renewal that will be on the April 6 ballot. Early voting will take place from March 23-30. He said the text of the proposition is available online at The presentation can also be viewed via the website, by clicking on the “WPSS Capital Improvements” link.

Additionally, Fairburn said the district is working on a new salary schedule for teachers, which is due to the state department of education by April 1 for review.

“Once they see that we meet all the requirements on salary schedules, we’ll come back and present it to the board for approval,” he said.