School board approves Entergy request

Published 4:46 am Saturday, December 16, 2017

Entergy plans to take over the long-empty Calpine plant in 2020, and at the beginning of the Bogalusa City School Board meeting on Thursday, Washington Parish Councilman Mike Fussell, Entergy Customer Service Representative Eunice Harris, and Senior Tax Manager Cory Gruntz all spoke in favor of the Industrial Tax Exempt Program that would have an initial term of five and a renewal term of two years. They were followed by Washington Economic Development Foundation Director Ryan Seal, who also spoke in favor of the exemption.

Seal said the plant had been dormant for years, and that he had been trying to get a company to take it over.

“This plant is going to make affordable and more reliable power,” he said.

The local entities that had to vote for the Calpine/Entergy resolution were the Washington Parish Sheriff Office, the Washington Parish Council, and the Bogalusa City School Board.

Fussell assured the board that the parish council had already voted in favor of the exemption. The school board voted unanimously for the exemption Thursday.

The proposal has to ultimately be approved by the state.

In other business, Curtis Creel was once again voted president of the board and Paul Kates was again voted vice president. No other nominations were made and the votes were unanimous.

Only one person spoke during the public session. Sandra Harris complained about uncontrolled bullying at Northshore Charter School.

“I personally feel like it’s not ready, ” she said. “I feel like they’re getting ready to build. And I feel like if they do, it will end up like other schools here, empty.”

Then Ty Minieri, the attorney representing Bogalusa City Schools in the negotiating process with Northshore Charter School and BCS contract, rose to speak. He explained that charter schools are initially given a four-year contract, with an evaluation done during the third year.

“Their contract with the state expired on June 30,” Minieri said. “We’re trying to figure a framework that will work.”

“On July 1, 2017 Bogalusa City Schools became the authorizer for Northshore Charter School,” Superintendent Lisa Tanner said. “At that time BCS was given the timeline of October to complete the contract negotiations and sign a contract with Northshore Charter.

“We have been meeting, with lawyers, and trying to get this done. However, to date, this has not been accomplished.

“On last Thursday, BCS and Northshore Charter met with Superintendent John White and BESE board members to discuss a framework that Superintendent White was to propose. He sent the proposed framework to us on Tuesday of this week, and we have reviewed it. We are currently looking it over and will reply to this framework by next week.”