school calendar

LIVINGSTON – The Livingston Parish School Board has a draft proposal of the school calendar for the 2019-20 academic year.

School would begin on Friday, Aug. 9, with summer calling again on May 22, 2020. The board received the proposal at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Parrill said the mandatory state testing schedule plays a major role in determining when school begins and ends as well as where major holidays fall.

“We decided to place the Easter break the week before Easter to help with the standardized testing window,” Parrill said.

The tentative date for the Parent Teacher Conference day for now is Oct. 23, though that date may change, he said.

Other holidays include Labor Day, on Sept. 2; Livingston Parish Fair Day, Oct. 11; Thanksgiving, from Nov. 25-29; and Christmas holidays from Dec. 23 through Jan. 7.

In the spring semester, students will return to school on Jan. 8. Spring semester holidays also include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 20; Mardi Gras, from Feb. 24-25; and Easter break, running April 6-13.

The board will consider the 2019-20 calendar at its February board meeting.

In other business, Superintendent Rick Wentzel said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not working during the government shutdown, effectively slowing down the rebuilding and claims process.

“We are slated to get $56 million total – with $47 million to rebuild three school campuses,” Wentzel said. “We’ve only received $27 million from FEMA since 2016.”

It was the next day, Jan. 25, that the federal shutdown ended, but President Donald Trump only signed a resolution to fund government for three weeks.

While the federal government is only funded for three weeks, Wentzel also told the board that funding for federal education programs are guaranteed through September.

“We have been reassured that the funding for those schools who receive funding for federal programs will continue to do so through September,” Wentzel said.

Effects of the federal government shutdown could have been felt in the food service program.

For the free breakfast and lunch all students receive through the federal Community Eligibility Provision program due to the 2016 flood, Wentzel said federal payments for this program could have stopped after March.

“We have a $3.5 million surplus in food service that could sustain the program until the end of the year,” Wentzel said.

Livingston Parish schools is slated to continue with the Community Eligibility Provision program until 2021.

The board also recognized 24 schools as Schools of Excellence for attaining statewide standardized testing goals.

Awards categories include Top Gains – those schools which experienced significant student growth in standardized testing – and Equity Honorees – those schools which outperformed 90 percent of schools in the state in subgroups of students with a disability, students with economic disadvantages or students who are English as a second language learners.

Those schools recognized as 2018 Top Gains and Equity Honorees schools include: Denham Springs Elementary, Denham Springs Freshman High, Eastside Elementary, Holden High, Juban Parc Elementary, Live Oak High, North Live Oak Elementary, South Live Oak Elementary and Springfield High.

Those schools recognized as 2018 Top Gains schools include: Albany Lower Elementary, Albany Middle, Albany Upper Elementary, Denham Springs Junior High, Doyle Elementary, French Settlement Elementary, Freshwater Elementary, Levi Milton Elementary, Lewis Vincent Elementary, Live Oak Elementary, Maurepas School and Springfield Middle.

Those schools recognized as 2018 Equity Honorees were Albany High, Denham Springs High and French Settlement High

In other action, the board:

--Adopted a resolution recognizing and proclaiming January 2019 as the Louisiana School Board Recognition Month.

--Approved a change order for the Live Oak High School baseball and softball complex. There is no monetary change in the project.

The change order adds 60 days to account for the inclement weather toward the end of 2018, said Chris Bankston, of Gasaway, Gasaway and Bankston.

--Granted the authority to advertise for bids to repair the cafeteria and multi-purpose building on the Southside Elementary campus.

These two buildings survived the 2016 flood and are being repurposed for use as part of the STEM and Robotics Program for Denham Springs High School, board member Buddy Mincey Jr. said.

--Granted tax exempt status to the project to repair the cafeteria and multi-purpose building on the Southside Elementary campus.

--Named Christina Coats the assistant child nutrition supervisor at the Central Office and Mildred Powell as substitute assistant principal for Walker High School.

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