School board details members' development credits
By: Donald Aguillard
School board members have traditionally participated in conference workshops for the purpose of developing a heightened awareness regarding educational policies and regulations. Act 705 passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2010 solidified this training into an annual requirement, necessitating that school board members receive training and instruction related to their elected positions for a specified number of hours.
The law specifically mandates that newly elected board members attain 16 hours of training in order to be recognized as a “Distinguished School Board Member.” Experienced school board members are obliged to fulfill six hours of instructional training annually, but they may also receive the same distinction if 16 hours are earned.
In accordance with the act, members use seminars and workshops to receive critical information regarding Louisiana school laws including those that govern the powers, duties, and responsibilities of local officials, particularly public school boards.
Members also gain knowledge of current educational trends, research, and ongoing policy adoptions and revisions. The law outlines suggested activities including: high school redesign, early childhood education, school discipline, and leadership development. Most importantly, board members can participate in sessions relating to the state’s funding of public schools through the Minimum Foundation Program and provisions of the state’s Open Meetings Law and Public Bid Law.
The intent of the act is to afford school board members with the knowledge and expertise in areas associated with their elected position and commitment to the community. While an array of entities is authorized to deliver instructional sessions, members are also asked to provide attendance information to the Louisiana School Boards Association and local media.
Locally, all St. Mary Parish School Board members have participated in conference, convention, and system-sponsored instructional sessions to accrue credit hours this year. Board members who met or exceeded the 16 hours of training in 2011 and are designated as “Distinguished School Board Members” include: Roland Verret, Murphy Pontiff, Mary Lockley, Joseph Foulcard, Ginger Griffin, Marilyn LaSalle, Michael Taylor, Bill McCarty, and Anthony Streva. Additionally, Wayne Deslatte, former president of the St. Mary Parish School Board, earned 12 hours while former superintendent and current vice-president, Edward Payton earned 9 hours of training.