Breaux asks for board’s support

Published 1:04 am Saturday, August 29, 2015

Near the end of Thursday’s Bogalusa City Schools board of education meeting, Superintendent Willie Breaux read a scathing statement attacking those she felt undercut her decisions and authority.

She said much of the backbiting is a direct result from some changes she instituted for the 2015-2016 school year. Those changes included moving principals around and eliminating lead principals altogether.

Eric Greely was the lead high school principal last school year, but currently oversees the sixth and eighth grades. Lesley McKinley is now high school principal and was co-principal last year. A supervisor was assigned different duties.

Breaux said the high school’s School Performance test score was the worst ever. She said everybody was to blame for that result.

“My goal has been from day one to change the culture, raise test scores and bring students back to our system,” she read, from the statement. “However, I have been stifled by some who refuse to follow my direction.

“I humbled myself and made a commitment that I would work harder and prove myself by bringing up test scores. However, I cannot accomplish this goal if I am not trusted and given the opportunity.”

The statement also noted that Breaux needed leeway to do her job.

“Sometimes I feel that I am a placeholder being ruled by some of the board,” she read. “This does not mean in any form or fashion that I do not want your advice. Not only do I want it, but I welcome and need it … With all the turmoil, mistrust, backstabbing, lies and unfaithfulness, Bogalusa School Board members, I still pledge to continue to do my very best and focus on what education is really about, and that is student achievement.”

After the meeting Breaux spoke openly.

“I feel like I’m not being allowed to make decisions for the system and that’s my job,” she said. “I feel like too many people are getting involved by calling board members and putting out negativity in the community. My decision to change principals is where all of this is coming from. The board and everyone else is going to have to trust me. What we did last year didn’t work. I’ve implemented a new plan for this school year.”

Before the meeting, the system’s cafeteria managers prepared samples of the food that will be served in the cafeterias in the near future.

Parent Marie Smith Ishman addressed the board about the quality of cafeteria food.

“I’m one of the parents going to school to eat lunch with my daughter,” she said. “What they took time to prepare today … will it be available on a consistent basis? We want improvement in the cafeteria with the food.”

Child Nutrition Supervisor Lorene Randazzo assured Ishman the new servings would soon be available.

In other business, the board:

•  Approved the Personnel Evaluation Plan.

•  Declared surplus on a 1996 Dodge Van.

• Announced that the system will receive a $13,516 safety grant for additional cameras in classrooms.

•  Approved the 2015-2016 budgets, general funds, food service special revenues and school activities.