The proposed school calendar for the Lafayette Parish School System caused a bit of conflict at the school board meeting Wednesday.
“Teacher input on this issue was practically non-existent,” says the President of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators Rodolph Espinoza.
Espinoza says the LPAE as an organization opposes the new calendar. “This 171 days would put us among the lowest in the entire state probably bottom two or three on the number of instructional days that we offer our kids.”
Espinoza explains the idea of 11 in-services is excessive. Espinoza adds that LPAE members would prefer 4 professional development days and any other further days to be completed in the summer paid.
School board member Tommy Angelle says it's significant when teachers come to the board and request more time with students. “It tells me that they need more face time with their students and apparently it just falls for the most part upon deaf ears.”
Director of Academics for Lafayette Parish Schools Karen Williams explains the state is operating on the concept of minutes in the classroom and not days. Williams explains the new calendar has 2,115 more minutes than what the state requires; which equates to 5 ½ days more.
“We're going to a different kind of education system. So, just to say you have face time. The quantity of the time doesn't matter as much as the quality of the time,” Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper
Board member Kermit Bouillion agrees with Dr. Cooper. Bouillion says what company will hire people but not train them. “Do you want to train them on a Sunday. Do you want to train them on Saturday or do we want to train them when they're here working on the payroll?” says Bouillion.
“We have to make sure our teachers have the training so they go into the classroom competent, knowledgeable and confident,” adds Cooper.
The current school year is operating under 174 instructional days.
The board also approved adding security to the board meetings. In recent months, Lafayette Police were called to the meetings because of alleged disturbances. The board's approval was unanimous.