South Claiborne boil advisory lifted
boil advisories for all customers on La. 146 between Hwy. 146, St. John and
Gladney Roads have been lifted.
boil advisory had included Gladney Road, Peaceful Bay, Pixley Road, Kings Point
and Hammontree Road.
Claiborne educators in Baton Rouge
Jefferson takes educators’ concerns to
Go to www.legis.state.la.us to see the bills that will be
discussed in Baton Rouge this week.
• Senate Bill 603
• House Bills 974
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
Claiborne educators are headed to Baton Rouge this week to protest and lobby
against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reform package set to go before the
Senate and House Education Committees.
before they loaded up, a public forum was held at Homer High School Wednesday,
March 7, to allow House Rep. Patrick Jefferson to hear concerns from teachers,
education employees and the general public on their feelings about Jindal’s
expansive reform plan.
they aren’t happy. While the atmosphere of the forum began with an anxious,
expectant audience, Jefferson first gave a simplified overview of Jindal’s plan
before beginning a question and answer session where educators could voice
their opinions and clear up any misconceptions and myths they’d heard.
concerns to Mr. (State Superintendent of Education John) White about the lack
of communication,” Jefferson, vice chairman of the House Education Committee,
said, referring to a meeting held with White very recently.
teacher responded that she felt the reform package was “being shoved down their
willing to accept changes,” said Debbie Harmon, a longtime teacher at Homer
Junior High School, “but we feel it’s being shoved down our throats without the
materials to teach the core standards.”
standards, a document somewhat like a grade level expectation (GLE), defines
what levels and when goals and objectives should be met by students.
state department has not finalized the last core standard yet,” Claiborne
Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Janice Williams said in a separate interview.
“Kindergarten, first and second grades will be released first for English,
Language Arts and Math. They are going to release it in pieces.”
Mozeke, also a teacher, says she feels the governor has an ulterior motive for
pushing his reform plan through this legislative session, which began Monday.
too fast, too much and too soon,” she said.
the years of teaching -- and longtime educators have attested to this --
curriculum has changed, changes to the school systems itself have changed and
so has the way teachers are being required to teach. So, educators are used to
making changes, but this, they feel, is overwhelming.
said the idea behind the education reform plan is to enhance standards. Early
childhood education is a big issue in the reform plan, because that’s where
education begins, with our “babies,” he said. Evaluation -- good teachers,
tenure (job security), and choice -- is another issue in the reform plan
(discussed later in this story).
said she and others are upset about retirement as well. Haynesville Junior High
School Teacher Keith Morgan asked Jefferson why paying down the state debt
would have to come out of their retirement. Jefferson responded that he’d been
told that teachers would be paying more into the retirement system to sustain
it, not pay down state debt, which is at about a $900 million deficit.
Guillory, a teacher at Homer Junior High School, said he felt like he and his
fellow colleagues were paying for a debt they didn’t create.
it our fault?” he asked. “Why does the state have $900 million in debt?”
concern is charter schools. Jefferson, in his overview, explained that Jindal
wants to take the charter school system, which began in Louisiana in the New
Orleans Recovery School District following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and
implement it statewide to give parents more choice in their child’s education.
The idea behind the charter school is to offer more competition, which would
drive public school systems to do better.
problem, Jefferson said, is that students who attend a charter
school can be “cherry picked” and the public schools have to take everyone. Not
only that, but concerns abound for rural parish school systems like Claiborne.
The issue there, the legislator said, is there’s not a lot of mobility, not a
lot of choices.
something that could work, which is already being tried in other areas, is the
virtual charter school. This offers courses to kids who might not have access
to those courses at their school. For example, Jefferson said, if a high school
student wants to take a science course not offered at their regular school,
they would be able to take the course through the virtual charter school. The
student would not be moved out of the public school system, and it still offers
students choices in their education.
is going to be an issue as well, Jefferson said.
Janet Holland, technology supervisor and Title I supervisor at Central Office,
worries that public school dollars will go to charter, private and parochial
schools, leaving less funding for students at the public schools.
parochial school is a school that provides religious education in addition to
conventional public school education, such as a Baptist school or Catholic
are not being fair,” she said. “You’re comparing apples to oranges, and the
whole thing, it seems, is being designed to make public schools look bad.”
reason, she said, is because when the letter grading system was implemented,
overall the schools were graded without adding at least three charter schools
in the state that had failed. In a meeting held in November 2011 at Central
Office, the letter grading system was explained to the public, and all of
Claiborne Schools, except for Summerfield, were given a “D” or “F” letter
grade. Which by those standards means that Claiborne Schools are failing, and
that’s simply not the case, Holland said.
Burcham, a special education teacher for kindergarten and first grade at Homer
Elementary School, is concerned about those students who won’t attend college.
everybody will go to college,” he said. “Why not teach them skills they can use
to make a living?”
huge concern among Central Office staff and others is how the reform plan would
affect the fact that Claiborne Parish is still under a desegregation court
order. Also, special needs students are a huge issue, and Jefferson, an
attorney, said that could present legal challenges.
issues brought up include:
Discipline in the classroom. Teachers have no authority to discipline their
students when needed.
Teachers are afraid of losing their jobs, based on Jindal’s proposed evaluation
process where tenure is done away with and a large portion of a teacher’s
evaluation is based on student performance.
pay scale that Jindal wants to implement. Scott Alexander, a teacher at Homer
High School, asked why the pay scale should be different for teachers.
concern, according to Bob Bond, supervisor of pre-K through 8th grade, is the
“rush” on value added evaluation. He says there’s holes and loops with value
added, such as the fact they don’t have standards.
added” is where teachers must be evaluated, and these teachers must meet
certain criteria, Dr. Williams said. If they don’t meet these criteria after
three years of not being rated effective, they will be dismissed. They are
given a three year probationary period to be deemed effective, and if they are
not, they are dismissed.
example, a teacher is evaluated during the first school year and is rated
ineffective. They have three years, and if at the end of year three, they are
deemed ineffective, they are terminated.
does away with tenure, in which after three years, a teacher has a better
chance of holding on to their jobs.
that does not mean that a teacher can’t be terminated for just cause.
Knapp, UniServ Director for Region 2 of the Louisiana Association of Educators
(LAE), said there is an alternative plan put out by LAE that reforms education
by providing teacher quality, strengthening students and holding everyone
fact sheet she handed out at the forum, LAE proposes quality teachers and
classroom effectiveness by “improving teacher preparation by requiring novice
teachers to obtain a one year residency under a ‘master teacher’ in addition to
passing a rigorous, classroom-based assessment.”
way to improve teacher quality and effectiveness is to evaluate teachers around
multiple data sources instead of Jindal’s plan to make teacher evaluation based
almost solely on student performance.
ways are listed in their proposal that counter much of Jindal’s plan. However,
the goal is much the same, just different ways of doing it. The LAE alternative
can be found at www.lae.org.
will also be in Baton Rouge this week sitting in on the committee meetings and
advocating for teachers all across Louisiana.
these concerns are well justified, Jefferson said he intends to take these
concerns to the Legislature so that the voices of those in his district can be
is coming, whether it’s needed or not,” Jefferson said. “The legislature’s job
is to tweak, add to or subtract on these bills, and at the end of the day, we
have to move Louisiana forward.”
Dr. Williams, that statement goes without saying. At the end of the meeting,
she said she would fight hard for the teachers in her parish, while at the same
time, dealing with and implementing the changes the best way she can. However,
she told attendees, she has a personal stake in this.
a six-year-old son in the public school system,” she said, “and he’s who I
fight for. I am a single mother, and I want the best education for my child.”
said quite emphatically that she would fight hard for what’s best for Claiborne
can fight for one, then I’m fighting for all,” she
said. “At the end of the day, he’s my driving force.”
Fender bender leaves a mark
A slight fender bender on West Second
Street, between the post office and The Guardian-Journal Newspaper, left a
little damage to one vehicle and not much at all to the other. According to
reports from the Homer Police Department, Julius Peterson, driving a Lexus SUV,
was in the parking lot at the post office when he pulled out. Irma Boyd,
driving a Ford Expedition, was coming down West Second when Peterson pulled out
of his parking space, and when he did, they struck each other in the middle of
the road. There is no posted speed limit, and if there isn’t one, then it is
automatically 25 miles per hour. No citations were issued.
Traffic stop nets drug charges
Homer men found themselves behind bars after police stopped them for a traffic
James Harper, 20, of Homer, was arrested for no seat belt with bond set at
$500, disturbing the peace by loud music with bond set at $500, possession of
Schedule I CDS (marijuana) with bond set at $1,000, resisting an officer with
bond set at $500, simple escape with bond set at $10,000 and a probation/parole
violation with no bond.
L. Thomas, 28, also of Homer, was arrested for possession of marijuana (fourth
offense) with bond set at $20,000 and parole violation with no bond.
to reports, Homer Police Chief Russell Mills attempted to stop the vehicle in
question and when they did not stop, Sgt. Van McDaniel assisted by cutting the
vehicle off at the front.
Mills pulled to the right of the vehicle, reports say he observed Thomas
putting out something, and as he approached, Thomas was observed swallowing the
object. Thomas was asked to exit the vehicle and at that time, what appeared to
be a cigar was seen in the car door in plain view. The item was collected and
taken into evidence.
to police, Thomas admitted the “cigar” was his and that it contained marijuana.
Thomas was placed under arrest for the above charges and transported to the
Claiborne Parish Detention Center. Both Thomas and Harper were arrested on the
drug charges and Harper was cited for loud music and no seat belt.
while at the Homer Police Department, Harper attempted to escape from the
station while they were doing the paperwork on his arrest. He was detained by
Mills, McDaniel and Lt. Roger Smith and then transported to the Claiborne
Parish Detention Center.
subjects, police say, are known convicted felons.
Marshal’s Service aids in arrest
complaint filed in January by a citizen of Claiborne Parish led to the arrest
of Michael Shane Desadier, 42, of Haynesville.
Detective Charles Buford obtained a grand jury indictment against Desadier on
charges of extortion and cyber stalking after Buford completed his
investigation. He then contacted the U.S. Marshal’s Service and asked for
assistance in Desadier’s apprehension on these warrants.
February 27, the U.S. Marshal’s Service apprehended Desadier at his residence
in Emerson, Ark. Marshals took Desadier into custody and booked him into the
Columbia County Jail. He later waived extradition and was transported to
booked at the Claiborne Parish Detention Center on March 1 on charges of
extortion with bond set at $10,000 and cyber stalking with bond set at $2,000.
separate incident, on November 8, 2011, a theft in progress at a residence on
Hwy. 2 Alternate (La. 521) was reported to the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s
Roger Ellerbe was dispatched to the scene as well as Chief Detective Charles
Buford and Detective Darren Keel.
determined that a residence had not been entered. An investigation ensued,
which resulted in the arrest of Robert Timothy Phillips, 39, for attempted
theft over $1,500 on November 9, 2011. Warrants were obtained on Bobby G.
Stevens, 46, of Shongaloo and Johnny D. Walker, 44, of Bossier City.
was arrested on November 29, 2011 and charged with attempted theft with bond
set at $5,000. Walker was arrested on March 3, and charged with attempted theft
with bond set at $10,000 and other failure to appear charges.
arrests may be pending in this case.
another incident, on March 8, CPSO Reserve Deputy Jimmy Monzingo observed two
male subjects near the intersection of La. Hwy. 2 and Flatlick Road stealing
tin and other metal items.
Randy Pugh and Detective Darren Keel were dispatched to the scene.
an investigation was conducted, Keel arrested Tacareious D. Daniels, 27, and
Britt Moody, 56, both of Minden. Both men were charged with attempted theft
under $500 and criminal trespass. Bonds on all charges were set at $500 each.
Mural to get worse before better
The Tech crew hopes to start working on
the mural later this week, and wanted everyone to know it will look worse
before it looks better. The early stages will involve shading in large areas
and they don’t want the community to be discouraged. In general, the painters
will plan to work on Mondays and Fridays, with occasional work on the weekends.
It will take a couple of months at least to finish the entire mural. If anyone
has questions, please call Cynthia Steele, 927-2566.
Music important to student education
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
has been proven to enhance critical thinking skills and is directly related to
higher test scores and is important to lifelong learning, said Dr. Pat Bates,
interim chairperson of the Claiborne Parish Endowment Fund board.
at the Claiborne Parish School Board meeting last week, she brought before the
board a proposal to consider bringing in a group to conduct a demonstration
with students and teachers about the importance of music education into Claiborne
idea is to bring “music across the curriculum,” Dr. Bates said.
said it’s currently difficult for teachers to bring music into education when
they are teaching subjects like social studies or science. And teachers are in
what she called “survival mode,” when it comes to the classroom with all the
things that are required of them with the state curriculum.
demonstration would take place in the 2012-13 school year in the fall and would
be paid for by the Claiborne Endowment Fund.
value of music education is invaluable,” she said. “There is a direct
connection between academic achievement...and music.”
gave a personal example, saying her father had Alzheimer’s disease, and by the
time he hit the last stages, he hadn’t spoken a word in years and didn’t
recognize anyone. However, at the nursing home where he was being cared for,
they put him on a piano, and he played a bar of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the
value of music education is powerful,” she reiterated. “It
can make a difference; it can give our young people hope.”
High School had a school band until last year, when due to decrease in interest
and a decrease in funds, the program was cut. Bates said she’d like to see
music reinstated as a part of students’ overall education.
the details of the demonstration aren’t yet set in stone, she said she wanted
to come before the board because the endowment fund board wanted to make sure
the school board would approve such a demonstration before putting money into
bringing the project to Claiborne Parish.
without hesitation, the board voted unanimously to allow the Endowment Fund
board to pay for the demonstration.
other news, Ethel Dansby, coordinator for the homeless program with CPSB, gave
a presentation about the National Homeless Conference she attended last month.
She gave a description of the program itself, as well as the duties of her job.
said she learned so much at this year’s conference, including new programs
available to students, redefining what constitutes a homeless child and things
kids deal with on a daily basis. One important thing she talked about during
her presentation is that the kids that are considered “homeless” when there is
a “lack of fixed, regular or adequate nighttime residence.”
kids are considered homeless when they are “sharing the housing of others due
to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason (71% of identified
homeless students in 2009-2010) or living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping
grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations (Motels: 5% of
identified homeless students in 2009-10).”
liaison must provide transportation to these kids to and from their school of
origin, in other words, where they would go to school if they had a permanent
program also offers college access to kids who are considered homeless. Even if
they are living in a college dormitory, if they do not have a place to go if
they weren’t living in the dormitory, then they are still considered homeless.
she discussed a hot topic which seems to be running rampant in schools --
bullying -- even more so with access to the internet and social media sites.
According to Dansby, “a student is being bullied or victimized when he or she
is being exposed, repeatedly, and over time, to negative actions on the part of
one or more students.”
kinds of bullying include: direct (where there is an open attack on the
victim), indirect (which involves social isolation or exclusion from a group).
Types of bullying are physical, digital, harassment, psychological and social.
And yes, there is a difference between the types of bullying between boys and
girls, Dansby said. Boys tend to be more aggressive and take a direct approach,
whereas girls tend to spread malicious gossip about their victim or isolate
them from their group.
bullying is a term used when a victim is bullied on the internet or social
media sites. This has been seen over and over again in the news where students
have actually changed schools, or more horrifically, committed suicide because
of these acts.
and school systems have taken action by placing in their policies steps to be
taken if a student approaches a teacher or staff member about being bullied. It
is also in the Claiborne Parish Student Handbook, where certain steps are taken
against students who actively participate in bullying.
other school board news, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Janice Williams’
contract was renewed with the same salary and stipulations. However, the vote
wasn’t unanimous. With a roll call vote, all voted yes except District 5 School
Board Member Dr. Robert Haynes who abstained and District 6 School Board Member
who voted nay. Her contract was extended for another two years.
news, Emma Coleman was hired as a paraprofessional at Haynesville Elementary
for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. Resignations and retirements
included: Steve Boyett, a bus driver for Homer Schools (retiring), Maxine
Curry, a paraprofessional at Homer Junior High School (retiring), Deborah
Barron, a teacher in Junction City (retiring), and Shannon Gooch, a secretary
at Homer High School (resignation).
Blackwelder, child welfare and attendance supervisor, presented the 2012-13
school calendar for the school board’s approval. With a day or two moved
around, the calendar is much the same as it is for the current school year,
giving consideration to state testing dates. It was approved unanimously.
resolution requesting the lifting of unfunded mandates on public school systems
was read into record and approved by the school board. While this resolution
has absolutely no impact on what is done, the resolution has the school board
going on record to say unfunded mandates are increasingly difficult to meet.
the superintendent’s report, there was a dispute about whether the teachers who
chose to travel to Baton Rouge this week to lobby against Jindal’s education
reform plan would be using public dollars for a political issue. Dr. Haynes
asked the school board about the issue, saying if the teachers took a paid day
off from teaching to go, then they are essentially using taxpayer dollars to
allow teachers to lobby on a political issue. However, if the teachers take a
personal day, then there is nothing that can be done, Dr. Williams said. Before
allowing the teachers to take off, Dr. Williams said she would look into the
legalities of this to make sure everyone is following the law.
next school board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 5, in the
school board meeting room at Central Office. For more information or for
questions, please call their office at 318-927-3502.
Mark Your Calendars!
Football Camp at Mayfield Park this
football camp, hosted by Homer Mayor Alecia Smith, Town of Homer Recreation
Department and NFL Player Demetrius Bell, will be held at Mayfield Park from
noon until 4:30 p.m. From noon until 2 p.m. will be free elementary school
payer football and cheer camps with NFL players (grades 1-6), and from 2 until
4:30 p.m., free high school player football skills camp with NFL players
(grades 7-12). For more information and to pick up a registration form, please
contact Shaquaila Lewis at the Town of Homer for more information, at 318-927-1312
Lots of activities for annual Relay for
Friday, March 16, a bake sale will be held from 9 until 11 a.m. at Emerson Oil
Co., Inc., located at 352 Sycamore Street in Homer.
way money is being raised for the American Cancer Society is through a drawing
for several prizes. A six-gallon cajun fryer from R&V Works will be raffled
off for $5 per donation per ticket. A four-gallon cajun fryer, also by R&V
Works will be raffled off for a $2 donation per ticket. For a $5 donation per
ticket, a smokin’ cajun grill, by R&V Works will be raffled off.
drawing will be held at the Relay, but winners do not have to be present to
win. Tickets are available at Homer Memorial Hospital. For more information on
the raffle, please call 318-927-1400 or email . the
Relay for Life will be held from noon until midnight on Saturday, April 14, at
the Ronny G. Beard Memorial Stadium at Homer High School. Luminarias are
available for $10 each; just see this week’s edition of The Guardian-Journal to
get a form. Please send your completed form and contribution to your team
member or mail to Luminaria Chair, Ann Burton, P.O. Box 240, Homer, LA 71040.
Resolution ‘fixes’ special permit fees
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
resolution regarding special permits brought a bit of discussion at last week’s
Claiborne Parish Police Jury.
703 of the police jury’s Code of Ordinances allows for special permits to be
issued outside of the violations listed in Section 82-38(b) of Ordinance 703
when the road superintendent or his designee decides it’s needed. However,
there is no specified permit fee for these exceptions. This resolution
(Resolution 2012-006) sets a specific price of $500 for a special permit “for
the movement of oversized and overweight equipment to and from any new or
already existing oil and gas well locations” in the parish road system.
really applies to rig moves,” District 2 Police Juror Mark Furlow said.
However, it does not apply to work over rigs, he added.
company or individual in blatant noncompliance of Section 82-38(b) of Ordinance
No. 703, the cost of said permit increases to $1,000,” the resolution states.
any heavy haulers that move through Claiborne Parish must pay a $25 or $50
permit fee per company in order to receive a permit. These permits apply to
logging, construction and the oilfield if they are not overweight or oversized.
they are oversized or overweight, that’s when that special permit kicks in,”
Secretary Treasurer Dwayne Woodard said.
to Woodard, this resolution is a temporary fix until such time they can totally
amend Ordinance 703, of which they are in the process of doing.
issue boils down to this: the police jury is paying out more in road repairs
than they are receiving in permit fees. Woodard said records show they only
$1,700 in permit fees in 2011. He said there is one road in particular that
sees a lot of oilfield overweight and oversized traffic and they spent more
than $70,000 in 2011 just to keep the road usable.
oil and gas industry is the lifeblood of our parish,” Woodard said. “However,
while our fees are in line with other parishes, we are still cheaper.”
plan to have all the amendments to the ordinance that addresses all the issues
ready to adopt by September 1. All the new provisions of the ordinance are
planned to go into effect January 1, 2013, Woodard said.
resolution was adopted 9-1, with the lone vote against by District 10 Police
Juror Willie Young.
other news, Allied Waste requested to change the service days from Mondays to
Thursdays in an effort to provide more efficient service, according to a letter
from the company to the police jury. The effective date will begin Thursday,
March 15. These changes will affect approximately 60 homes on the following
roads: Bicycle Road, Bois D. Arc Road, Clearlake Road, Dutchtown Road, Frank
Miller Road, Highway 534, Lonnie Road, Maddry Road, Maritzky Road, McClung
Owens Road and Union Grove Road.
residents along this route should have received door hangers notifying them of
the service day change. If there are any questions, please call the police jury
office at 318-927-2222.
police jury also approved bids for interior coating for Pine Hill Water
System’s storage tank, culvert purchases and a bid on a surplus low-boy truck.
other news, the Claiborne Parish Library Board of Control requested that the
jury submit an application to the state bond commission for the sale and
issuance of up to $2 million worth of bonds for the construction of the library
expansion. The request was approved, and Resolution 2012-005 was adopted to
other news, a public hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. in the conference room
of the Claiborne Parish Police Jury Complex for the abandonment and removing of
a section of Pitman Road from the parish road system. This public hearing is to
request input from the public about the proposed abandonment and removal of
this portion of the road from the road system.
to a letter from Eric Holley, who recently purchased the property at the end of
Pitman Road in Haynesville, said he wants to put a gate at the end of that
road, because he is the only one who uses that access to the property. Road
Superintendent Tommy Durrett said in the February meeting of the police jury
that closing this portion of the road would have no effect on any one else
living in that area.
next meeting of the police jury will be at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, in the
police jury meeting room. For more information, or for questions, please call
their office at 318-927-2222.