School board will help fund FINS program

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 30, 1998

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 30, 1998

LUTCHER – The St. James Parish School Board agreed to help finance a newcoordinator for the parish’s Families in Need of Services program at its meeting Tuesday night.

Judges John Peytavin and Alvin Turner, both of whom are involved in the juvenile court system, made presentations before the board and asked it to finance half the salary of the new coordinator for the program. Thecoordinator would be paid $22,500 annually with the school system paying $11,250.

The FINS program has been in the parish since 1993. Peytavin said themore serious juvenile offenders are sent to youth centers. But those listedas status defenders, such as truants, runaways or ungovernables, cannot be sent to the centers. That is where FINS comes in. FINS is anorganization that is brought in to solve family problems short of the court system.

Turner said the coordinator is an important cog in the system, coordinating solutions to problems that the child or family is having, and that the funds being asked for are reasonable.

In other business, the board recognized Paulina Elementary teacher Catherine Bourgeois for being selected as a regional finalist for the Louisiana Teacher of the Year. Bourgeois was one of 24 finalistsstatewide and was honored at the awards program in Baton Rouge Oct. 28. “We are happy to have you among the teachers of St. James Parish,” MaryEdwards of the school system said. “Continue to serve as an inspiration toall of us.”Bourgeois said one of her goals is to be the best teacher she can.

“Being a regional finalist is one of the goals of my career,” Bourgeois said. “I am real proud and real honored.”Daniel Shepard of St. James High School and Lynda Graham of GramercyElementary were also recognized for being the recipients of Bell South Telephone Mini Grants. Each received $500 for materials in the classroom.The board also approved using the last three half days of the school year as school days to make up the two days lost due to hurricanes Earl and Georges.

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