Posts filed under ‘Caddo Parish School Board’

University Elementary Sacrificed in CPSB Tax Plan

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Elliott_Stonecipher(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

by Elliott Stonecipher

Readers may be aware that the Caddo Parish School Board and staff have decided they will not answer questions from the public when they – public employees – present their tax plan in public meetings held in public buildings.  If they were willing to answer questions, I would ask this one:

May 2 Bond Election_the-clock“The core of your tax plan is the building of a $24,500,000 school in Southeast Shreveport, regardless that no school there is needed, and that building it seriously damages University Elementary School.  How do you explain this to parents and staff who support University and any other damaged schools?”

Here We Go Again

In spite of its solid educational record over decades, this is the second time University Elementary has thus been set-up for a fall by the CPSB and staff.  Should voters pass this plan, the attendance zones of (more…)

Add comment March 29, 2015 11:31 am

CPSB: Focus on Performance Indicators, Not Smoke

Independent!

Independence-Integrity-Results

by Marion Marks

We seem to sit around far too much complaining about the performance of public officials who fail to live up to our expectations. This is especially true when we often work hard to get them into office. So, when I came across new meaning for a metric that was important to me in social media for gauging the effectiveness, my mind raced to the linkage of performance measurement for those in public office. After all, it is so very similar.

Most public officials find the assessment of their effectiveness to be a factor of their public posturing or public relations. Inflatable ChickenIt’s generally the same with national officials who make the “baby-kissing circuit” or the rubber chicken lunch tour.

I would like to see far fewer public statements about successes and far more demonstrations of success. If the metric is managing a system, how smoothly do those who are regular users of the (more…)

Add comment March 23, 2015 9:32 am

The Times Opposes CPSB Tax Plan

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

In its lead editorial today, The Times opposes the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan soon headed to Caddo voters.  The editorial well hits many of the plan’s weaknesses. Here is the editorial.

Make Trouble-It's Your JobFor those of us who have been working, some of us almost full-time, to defeat this proposal, the newspaper’s reasoning for its opposition is important.  Those details include this notably clear statement:

“For example … we don’t see the current student population in southeast Shreveport justifying building a completely new school there.”

Hand over the keyThe CPSB plan is perhaps most deficient, and most tied to, its failing record on school closures.  Not only does the present plan offer a mere promise for school (more…)

Add comment March 22, 2015 10:20 am

Caddo School Frustration That Must Be Fixed

Educational Requirementsby Marion Marks

The LA Department of Education requires student have 63,720 minutes of teacher class contact time to meet school credit requirements.* In the 2014-15 Caddo high school calendar, and the one approved for next year (2015-16) there were NO extra day(s) built in for potential weather related closing. Both school calendars start the first day of class short one(1) day even before the calculation of lost weather days, when schools are closed! Caddo already lost four(4) days this year due to weather.

HighSchool-required classesA typical calendar day is calculated based on 360 minutes of classroom contact per day for classes. This normally computes to 177 days for students. To be prudent, schools normally build an extra day into the schedule, making 178 calendar days to allow for one inclement day. Usually in Louisiana that is enough. The one thing schools never want to do is (more…)

Add comment March 20, 2015 5:34 pm

CPSB Superintendent Goree’s Dog and Pony Bond Package Show is a Slick Production

Opinion by John SettleCaddo Parish School Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree and key staff members have scheduled 10 “Reinvest in Caddo” Community meetings—6 have been conducted as of today. The meetings are scattered throughout the parish; they have been held at Blanchard Elementary, Queensborough Elementary, Captain Shreve High, Southwood High, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle, and Atkins Elementary. The remaining schedule includes Booker T. Washington, C.E. Byrd, Green Oaks, and Oak Park Elementary/ Middle School.

Gorree's-dogponyshowThe meetings have been a work in progress; initially live questions were invited from the audiences. For reasons that Dr. Goree and school board attorney Reg Abrams will NOT specify, the meetings now do NOT allow live questions. Attendees are invited to list questions on index cards and then check the CPSB website for (more…)

Add comment March 20, 2015 2:00 am

CPSB Tax a Risk to Teachers / Investigative Audit

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher
(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

Our research into the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan continues.  What we are learning is, well, bewildering.

Newly confirmed is a piece of information the tax plan sponsors and sellers are withholding:  just how many CPSB property tax millages are lined up for us to fund, and how quickly.  That information, it turns out, tell us much about what the board and staff are doing with the tax plan now before us. 

Deaeingly Quiet-Airplane

deafeningly quiet…

We should note that the CPSB remains deafeningly quiet on important tax plan questions.  My most recent effort to get answers was a ten-days-ago letter to the superintendent, board president and board member for my district.  None has acknowledged receipt of the letter, much less responded.   

This striking and deliberate absence of transparency is the hallmark of this op … and is no accident.

What Taxes … and When?

dirtydataAvailable on the website of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor is the CPSB’s most recent, 2013-2014, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.  Included in this wealth of public information is the list (more…)

Add comment March 19, 2015 4:34 pm

CPSB: As Many or More Schools, 1/3 Fewer Students

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage plan set for a May 2, 2015 election.)

The Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan, as many of us are now aware, is exclusively about brick and mortar.  If voters approve, the plan puts taxpayers on the hook for another $108,000,000 in bonded debt … for a list of three new schools plus eleven other building projects.   

Brick & Mortar

Brick & Mortar

Time has shown that a mix of “CPSB” and “brick and mortar” means the citizenry steps off into taxation quicksand.  The school board and administration have long and devoutly refused to make it their business to finally right-size the system by closing any more schools than it builds, even as its enrollment has steadily declined.  Board members will (more…)

March 9, 2015 10:42 am

Raw Number at CPSB Require Deeper Investigation

by Marion Marks

Employment in CPSB system went from 6,142 to 5,810 between years 2012 and 2014. We know there are schools whose staff has vanished from these rolls due to the schools that have moved off the rolls. But the staff positions lost seem to be less teaching or student-contact positions and almost the same central office and administrative staff. Here are the actual financial comparisons of costs supplied by the CPSB.

Coding of expenses related to personnel has always been a moving target, as reassigning codes to define the role people play in the system can be a way to hide pay raises, cloud issues of department cuts and responsibility as well as make it difficult for the public to grasp what really is going on in the system. My contention is that every administrator under fire finds a way to recode data that shifts the focus away from failure. Bad Data

The fact that large numbers of employees (more…)

March 6, 2015 11:14 am

Caddo School Bond Package: Higher Rents…

… Lower Home Sales, More Population Loss??

Opinion by John SettleOn May 2 the Caddo Parish School “Re-invest in Caddo” $108 million bond package will be on the ballot–along with tax renewal for the Biomed Foundation. Caddo voters can sit at home, vote for more taxes or vote to INVEST in Caddo by defeating both tax measures. For those voters who are owners of real estate, these votes count were it matters the most–in their pocketbooks. And for those do NOT own real estate but who can vote to burden their neighbors and local businesses who do, this vote could very well hurt their finances as well.

Opposing StatisticsOutstanding research by local good government advocate Elliott Stonecipher shines a spotlight on the Caddo tax burden-a message that will NOT be heard from Caddo School Superintendent Goree’ and School Board members as well as those who will undoubtedly benefit from approval of the bond package, i.e. the local construction (more…)

March 6, 2015 10:00 am

CPSB Tax Op: What We Don’t Know Will Hurt Us

Elliott_Stonecipher(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage plan set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

Unhealthy Air_shreveport

Unhealthy Air

An unhealthy air is settling around the growing public debate about the Caddo Parish School Board’s tax plan.  In all my years of involvement in many, many such tax plans from and by many governmental bodies, I have never seen one as steeped in secrecy, and otherwise off-key, as this one.

It is clear to a growing number of us that our school board and administration are pushing this political op far too hard.  They are doing too many non-transparent and over-the-top (more…)

March 3, 2015 2:24 pm

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