Superintendent talks rumors surrounding Byrd Avenue

Published 11:57 am Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Willie “Toni” Breaux shot down rumors Thursday night that Byrd Avenue Elementary School is closing down next year.

Speaking after the regular school board meeting, Breaux said the talk around town that Byrd Avenue was closing for the 2015-2016 school year was simply not true. She also mapped out what the district is already doing in preparation for next school year.

“We’re going to wait and see to see how things go as far as Byrd Avenue is concerned,” Breaux said. “I have talked to staff, and we are concerned about the budget. I came here when we were in the black and intend to leave here with us in the black. The budget is not as cushy as hoped. We’ve lost over 100 kids to the charter school. We’re looking at different programs, such as art, music and physical education. I don’t want to cut any of them, but if we do, it would be just one. I hope we don’t have to cut anything. We’re going to do everything we can to keep all of them.”

Breaux said she has requested complete class schedules for 2015-2016 from junior high and high school principals.

“One principal already turned in 19 names with their complete schedules. We need all the names to see what we’re actually going to do,” Breaux said.

The third-year superintendent also said plans call for programs to assist students who do not plan to attend a traditional four-year university. She said instruction is available in welding, certified nursing, emergency medical response and culinary arts.

“Not all of our kids are college material,” Breaux said. “We want to prepare them so that they can make a decent living.”

Breaux’s contract expires on June 30, 2015. On Monday, school board members met in executive session to discuss Breaux’s contract but no action was taken. Her contract was not discussed Thursday night.

In business matters, the School Board approved a resolution regarding the opt-out movement and requested the Louisiana Department of Education and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education not penalize schools or districts in the state accountability system, should a parent opt-out of state testing.

Board members also approved a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Health and Hospitals for the high school to serve as a dispensing site during emergencies.

The high school JROTC received permission to attend the Cadet Leadership Challenge at Camp Shelby, Miss., June 11-16.

The high school’s track and field team received permission to attend meets in Picayune, Miss., on March 13, and in Mobile, Ala., on April 4.

District Child Nutrition Director Lorene Randazzo said March 2-6 is National School Breakfast Week.

“Nationally, only 28 percent of students eat breakfast. Here in the district, 58 percent of students eat breakfast,” she said.

Randazzo said school breakfasts always include daily fruits and/or vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk.

Randazzo said surveys show students who eat breakfast have better attention and memory, improved attendance, behavior and standardized test scores and are not late for school as often. She said eating breakfast helps students score 17.5 percent higher on standardized math tests.