Durrett: “I am very proud of our students.”

James Payton (standing far left) discussed numerous construction updates around parish schools during Tuesday’s LPSB meeting.

By Malcolm Butler

Lincoln Parish School Board Superintendent Ricky Durrett teased some good news that will be coming out this morning about parish LEAP scores during the conclusion of Tuesday nights LPSB monthly meeting.

“Leap scores will come out and be public (today),” said Durrett. “I think we are going to have really positive results and some good news out of a 10 a.m. press conference down in Baton Rouge. Our scores will be very good. I will say this. We have had growth in every school, grades three through eight. I am very proud of our students and our parents, teachers and administrators that have supported them.”

Longtime LPSB District 10 representative Otha Anders praised the academic growth. 

“Thank you for the progress. The growth. The achievement,” said Anders. “Several of the (past) superintendents said I was really, really demanding. I am demanding. And now we can see the results of (being) demanding. I stated back then that yes, I am demanding. It’s for the benefit of our children. This is a bye product, and I want to thank you.”

Durrett said that school performance scores would come out sometime in October.

The LPSB also voted unanimously to accept the one bid for fuel for the upcoming 2022-23 school year. That bid came from Hill Oil, and LPSB Secondary Supervisor Ricky Edmiston said that the bid was actually a pleasant surprise. 

“We are recommending that we accept this bid tonight,” said Edmiston. “It’s not an increase. In fact the unleaded premium went down two cents.”

LPSB Chief Financial Officer Juanita Duke provided some financial reports during the meeting. She said that the sales tax collected for July was $2.45M, up 1.14 percent ($27,587.71) from last July’s total. The total was 8.95 percent of the 2021-22 sales tax total. 

In the financial statement, Duke reported the general fund revenues collected for 2021-22 was $53.4M and the total expenditures were $52.5M, leaving ending total fund balance of 22.8M. Of that fund balance, 25.4 percent was undesignated.

In the special revenue funds which includes dedicated property and sales tax funds and operating funds and grant programs, the total revenues of $33.1M received and total expenditures of $27.0M with an ending fund balance of $20.4M

Total revenues collected of $86.5M and total expenditures of operations for all funding sources of $76.9M with a total ending balance of $43.4M. 

LPSB Construction Manager James Payton reported on a number of construction updates from around parish schools. Some of these included: 

  • Choudrant Elementary — the removal of two old portable classroom buildings that have not been used and are in ill repair
  • Dubach School — the repair of the school’s roof 
  • Ruston High School — a dirt project where the valley beyond the parking lot to the north of the boys gym will be filled in order to level it out. The area will be utilized for either a parking lot or a structure.
  • RHS’ James Stadium — the removal of the bleacher backs in the reserved section on the home side and replacing them with all chairback seats 

Durrett said he plans to put a few committees together for the 2022-23 school year, including one comprised of students and one of teachers. 

“We are going to start a student committee starting with fifth graders, one from every school and two from Ruston High,” said Durrett. “I will meet with them every month just to get some perspective and ideas from students. We will restart our Teacher Advisory Committee that we had prior to Covid that met three times a year. It will allow me to hear from them directly and get some ideas from that committee.”

Tuesday’s meeting began with the introduction of new Simsboro High School interim principal Lacey Holcomb.