St. Landry Parish School Board member Josh Boudreaux appears during a video-conference meeting Thursday with a San Francisco background. The Board met with all members and school staff attending via video-conferencing. (Photos by Harlan Kirgan)
An image from the School Board's video conference on Thursday.
St. Landry Parish School Board meets via video conference
The St. Landry Parish School Board met Thursday for the first time for a pair of official meetings via video conference.
The Board held a committee meeting of the whole for two hours followed by an hour-long regular meeting.
In the committee meeting, the Board once again rejected allowing Board President Donnie Perron to negotiate a new contract with Superintendent Patrick Jenkins
Board members Anthony Standberry and Myron Guillory motioned to bring the matter to the full Board, but other members blocked it in a roll call vote.
The back and forth of Board discussion could be heard via computers and phones. Images of members took up relatively small spaces on the screen.
Board member Mary Ellen Donatto, who was represented on the screen by a box with her name, said members are concerned why the contract keeps coming up on the agenda.
At a February meeting, the School Board’s Executive Committee rejected allowing the negotiation to proceed until Jenkins receives an evaluation.
Jenkins’ contract expires on Dec. 31. The Board must give him 120 days notice if intends to not renew his contract.
Donatto said she believed the purpose of Thursday’s meeting was to move on emergency matters due to coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. Due to the crisis the Board did not do an evaluation of the superintendent in March, she said.
Board member Joyce Haynes said the contract is not emergency for the Board. “I disagree with this going to the Board meeting in the next few minutes,” she said.
Albert Hayes Jr., a Eunice Board member, said, “I don’t see a need to change horses in the middle of the stream,” in support of contract negotiations.
Standberry said “the man is doing his job” about Jenkins.
Board member Denise Rose said Jenkins is doing an excellent job, but she favored giving Jenkins an evaluation before contract talks
Board Vice President Hazel Sias said she needs to see improvement in Opeousas schools.
Board member Josh Boudreaux said the contract should not be negotiated in the midst of the virus emergency.
Donatto echoed that thought that this is not the time to make decision that will last two or three years.
The committee voted 7-5 against the issue reaching the regular Board meeting.
Voting for the talks to proceed were Hayes, Standberry, Raymond Cassimere, Myron Guillory and Milton Ambres.
Against the contract negotiations taking place now were Sias, Donatto, Randy Wagley, Kyle Boss, Rose, Hayes and Boudreaux.
In other business:
— The Opelousas area will be polled for its opinion on a new middle school to be located at what was once Creswell Elementary.