Friday, March 6, 2009


Pastorek to school boards: I want to work with you

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek told an audience of local school board members that he wants to work with them, even as he pushes a plan to term limit the boards, remove their salaries and limit their authority.

Pastorek told the Louisiana School Boards Association that any suggestion he has declared "war" on local school boards was nonsense. Pastorek said Friday that he's trying to modernize education and improve schools.

But school board members say they feel under attack in a push to consolidate power in Baton Rouge.

Noel Hammatt, president of the school boards association, said Pastorek was twisting data to back up his proposals.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education debates Pastorek's school board proposals next week.


Baton Rouge School places second in technology competition

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — St. Thomas More School in Baton Rouge took second place in the 2009 National Engineers Week Future City Competition, good enough to earn the school a big scholarship and new software.

Teams from 38 middle schools nationwide, winners of regional competitions in January, participated in the Future City National Finals this week at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

St. Thomas More won for their Future City, which they titled Esperyance. The team is comprised of students Maggie Talbot and Annie Talbot, both 13 and Tyler Bellue, 14, teacher Shirley Newman and mentor Ricky Lee of SEMS, Inc.

St. Thomas More received a $5,000 scholarship for its technology program, and a 10-seat academic suite of engineering software from Bentley Systems.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


Experts to give recommendations to landbanked New Orleans schools

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A panel of land use experts is set to give recommendations for marketing dozens of New Orleans schools that would be "landbanked" as part of a proposed master plan.

The Urban Land Institute panel looked at four properties considered representatives — in a business corridor, low flood plain and residential areas.

Thelma French, director of board operations for Orleans Parish schools, said the panel is providing technical assistance as part of the master planning process. It is looking at how officials might try to market the schools for another use.

Louisiana's education superintendent has said the city's school system was overbuilt before Hurricane Katrina, with capacity for about 100,000 students but only about 60,000 enrolled. The number of students is even lower post-Katrina.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


Marksville High School coach resigns after alleged assault

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — The Avoyelles Parish School Board decided in executive session to accept the resignation of Marksville High School coach Roch Michael Bordelon, who allegedly assaulted Marksville High Principal Duke Allgood.

Tuesday night's vote stems from a Jan. 27 incident in which Bordelon, also the school's girls' basketball coach, was arrested for allegedly assaulting Allgood.

Bordelon was booked with battery of a school teacher and disturbing the peace, according to Marksville Police, and was placed on administrative leave without pay.

Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk,


Benton worker pleads guilty to defrauding school board

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A maintenance worker charged with participating in a scheme to defraud a north Louisiana school board has pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

Twenty-nine-year-old William Montgomery Rodes Jr., of Benton, was one of six suspects charged in the case and on Monday became the fifth to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Rodes was employed by the Bossier Parish School Board's maintenance department. Federal prosecutors say he knowingly approved invoices to pay contractors for air conditioning work they failed to perform.

Rodes faces up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is set for June 17.


Lafitte school gets technology award

LAFITTE, La. (AP) — A program at a school in Lafitte designed to help students and families learn how to use technology is getting a national award.

Representatives of Fisher Middle-High School in Lafitte are to accept the "Verizon Tech Savvy Award" Monday night at the 18th annual National Conference on Family Literacy in Orlando, Fla.

The Fisher school is getting the award for its "TechGen" program, which teaches parents and students various ways to safely use computer and communications technology for learning and for communicating with teachers. The award was established by the National Conference on Family Literacy, former Iowa First Lady of Christie Vilsack and the Verizon Foundation.


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