Poor attendance by Vermilion Parish school board members forces residents to demand emergency meeting

In Vermillion Parish and emergency school board meeting was called due to lack of attendance at by board members at other scheduled meetings.

“To say there is turmoil in the Vermillion Parish School Board, and the citizens they represent, with the collateral effect on the Vermilion parish school district is an understatement,” said 15th Judicial District Attorney, Keith Stutes, in a letter sent to board members.

116 registered voters of Vermillion Parish signed a petition demanding an official meeting of all school board members. This comes after some members of the board were intentionally skipping meetings.

“They place quotes in the paper and said that they might not return to any more meetings if the budget was not removed from the agenda,” says Superintendent Jerome Puyau.

Superintendent Puyau and President of the School Board, Anthony Fontana reviewed the agenda and were not able to remove the budget unless voted on by the board.

Puyau says, “We’ve never had a quorum, were five board members in the past three meetings at one regularly scheduled board meeting.”

Even though the conflict has been blamed on disagreements on the proposed budget, according to Puyau the budget is balanced.

“This has nothing to do with anything involving the budget, the school, or otherwise,” says Fontana

Fontana says this conflict runs much deeper.

“The first meeting that they came to it was about getting rid of the superintendent it. It’s personal, I’ve said it over and over again. I can prove it, I can prove that it’s not about the children.”

According to Fontana certain members of the board have taken to social media.

“What he and his family have gone through, no person should go through was going on on the Internet as well as in the schools, in some of these school, where these people have some influence,” says Fontana.

Even with ongoing conflict Puyau stays optimistic.

Puyau says, “We have great leadership in multiple areas, but I’d like to leave you with this. We like to say we are going to leave politics with the politicians, but leave education with the educators. We are not only educators but we are leaders and we will lead Vermilion Parish through these tough times.”

The district attorney believes that the conflict may come from an even number of eight members. He suggests that the board considered legally changing the number of the board members to provide an odd number of members.

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