Posts filed under ‘Caddo Parish School Board’
by Elliott Stonecipher
(Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is appreciated.)
I read with real interest yesterday’s Shreveport Times article about the local group which has funded election campaigns for some Caddo Parish School Board (CPSB) candidates. It reminds us of what too often awaits those who do heavy lifting in service to our community.
At issue is Citizens for a Better Caddo, formed by a group of prominent local activists in education and other community interests.* The group set up a political action committee, or PAC, to recruit and/or raise most of the campaign funds for their candidates.
The Times article – a solid and fair one, I think – presents details of how the PAC’s fundraising came from a relatively few people and/or their associated businesses and families. More to the (more…)
November 20, 2014 11:41 am
Southwest Shreveport voters have a clear choice in the December 6 council run-off between James Flurry and Durwood Hendricks, Jr. In the primary, Flurry captured 44% of the vote compared to Hendrick’s 39 %.
The candidates are as different as night and day. Flurry is a Republican; Hendricks is a Democrat. Flurry is white and Hendricks is black. Flurry has lived in the district for 35 years; Hendrick’s residence is subject to question.
Hendricks owns a home on Baxter Street in Shreveport and the phone book lists this address. Baxter street is not in District E. Hendricks changed his voter registration in October 2010 to South Brookwood Drive; Hendricks is not the owner of this house. (Hendrick’s was not available for comment.)
Flurry has a very solid background in public service and in business. He served 2 consecutive 6 year terms as Justice of the Peace in Ward 7 – which includes his district. Flurry served as the president of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association as (more…)
November 14, 2014 11:45 am
by Marion Marks
Critics of the political action committee (PAC) working to make changes in the Caddo Parish School Board membership suggest new elected members to the board are “bought.” Voters with a limited perspective of newly elected members of the board backed by the PAC fail to see the positive side of the PAC. The newly elected are a long way from bought, and they will have a long, hard road ahead to improve the system. The PACs are exactly what the name states, “Action Committees” who back their philosophy up with money in hopes here of moving away from the status quo, made of too many stagnant, failing schools.
It’s sad to believe so little real money could influence such an important segment of the community. One board member stated, “these payments were like gratuities or tips to (more…)
November 9, 2014 11:28 am
by Elliott Stonecipher
The (relatively) hot news leading into this column is that some 36,000 Louisianans have registered to vote since August 1st, presumably in preparation for voting in our November 4th elections. The most interesting thing about them is that one-half did not register as Democrats or Republicans. They registered as independents or other party affiliates.
Here’s why this may be important. One-in-four – 25.1%, to be precise – Louisiana’s voter registrants have heretofore signed-up as independents and others, or more to the point, not Democrats or Republicans. So, in this particular season of our voter discontent, two times as many people are checking it to the major parties and striking out on their electoral own.
More and more of us here and elsewhere in America have learned that our two-party system is unable to do anything about how bad “things” are, and how (more…)
October 23, 2014 10:57 am
by Rob Broussard
I read two articles in The Times on Sunday October 19, 2014, that left me to wonder whether the Citizens for a Better Caddo were racist, sexist, elitist, or manipulative. I suggest readers ponder, for a moment, how I arrived to that conclusion based on the comments made by guest columnist Ed Crawford, Zazell Dudley, and, while not a columnist, the chairman, Philip Rozeman as identified by Denee Locke in the Broadmoor Neighborhood Forum October, 2014. Two of those comments, (1) “Some of our board members have yet to embrace the structural reform necessary to address these concerns and have allowed too many of our schools to continue to fail…”. And, (2)“We represent a grass root organization…” are of major concern.
Is it racist that the Pac selectively chose only whites as targets as their “chosen” candidates? (Note that black candidates in other districts were given cursory interviews but none received money to date and none of the three targeted incumbents received interviews.) Are we to believe that only “whites” have voted, as board members, for policies that have led to our schools failing? Can you please support your accusations with data and documents? Are we to (more…)
October 20, 2014 12:39 pm
by Marion Marks
KTBS News reported videos and facts documenting board member knowledge of Title I Funds used at the central office cafeteria in violation of Title I guidelines, and monetary mismanagement has been noted by auditors for CPSB leadership on numerous departments and example since the 2010 audit that have not been addressed in paying employees and managing physical assets.
Superintendent Goree has a short-term pass to resolve these problems that were not of his making. However, when the attorney for CPSB, Reggie Abrams, consistently suggested that NO internal audits should be released to the public because they create too many issues Goree, the board and the public should cry foul. The 2013 audit once again noted, significant issues not properly addressed.
Abrams obviously generates significant billable hours and (more…)
October 2, 2014 1:41 pm
The KTBS story and report on theft of federal food funds as well as monetary mismanagement in the food services program has generated requests for school records and explanations from CPSB leadership, including Superintendent Goree. However, attorney for CPSB Reggie Abrams addressed the issue, according to one board member, by suggesting that NO future internal audits be released to the public.The 2013 audit notes significant issues (section of troubles in audit) that have never been properly addressed. Perhaps Abrams wants these to just “vanish.” [Complete 2012 &2013 audit here & here]
Abrams indicated that since these audits were internal in nature, the public has no right to view them. He further explained to board members, who cannot go on the record due to the policy that the board has to “speak with one voice,” that comments not vetted by the whole board only inflame the public, regardless of factual accuracy.
My question is why would Abrams expect any other reaction when all facts to date, including the video and story from KTBS, reflect mismanagement, poor judgement and outright theft (more…)
September 29, 2014 1:46 pm
There is an old saying in politics that if you are not taking shots from opponents (and political critics), then you must not be doing a good job. Put another way, if you are getting some hits then you must do be doing many things well. Such is the case with Patrick William who plans on being Shreveport’s next mayor.
Williams is a new face to many politicos and citizens alike, despite his prior service as a Caddo Commissioner and now as state representative from the MLK area.
That, plus his determination to be a positive agent for change, has upset many established political power bases and constituencies. And to top it off, Williams has NOT promised jobs in his administration to curry political favor.
There’s no doubt that Williams has upset the traditional “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality of Shreveport politics; its quite apparent that the old guard Shreveport business and (more…)
September 25, 2014 3:00 pm
Property tax winds are blowing yet again in Shreveport and Caddo, now from our Caddo Parish School Board. To put such taxation in context, this report contains new research comparing taxes in Caddo / Shreveport to other areas in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.
The administration and board are now at work deciding when to schedule their move, and what to put on the ballot when they do. A mix of renewals are coming due before we know it, and an early CPSB miscue could taint them all.
New Superintendent T. Lamar Goree is off to a positive, hopeful start, with perhaps several new school board members also coming aboard in November / December elections. Regardless, a “Give us the money!” tax renewal campaign would dash hope of reform.
(As I explained during the recent Caddo Commission tax (more…)
September 21, 2014 6:39 pm
With all the political hoopla in the past few weeks focused on other races, the upcoming election for all 12 members of the Caddo Parish School Board drew scant, if any attention. Not that these elected positions are not important – – quite the contrary. The large number of candidates who qualified for this 12 member board was a pleasant surprise to political observers.
The general public’s dissatisfaction with quality of Caddo public education is clearly reflected by the challenges to incumbent school board members. Only 2 of the current members were unopposed; Lillian Priest and Curtis Hooks did not seek re-election. Thus 10 seats could change hands.
Jasmine Green (District 2), and Ginger Armstrong (District 11) (more…)
August 29, 2014 7:00 am