Work delayed on two school roofs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 1999

By CHRISTINE HARVEY / L’Observateur / June 26, 1999

LUTCHER – Leaky, damaged roofs at two St. James Parish schools will notbe replaced for about a year.

School board members voted Tuesday to re-open the bidding process for repair work to be done.

The board received only one bid to replace the roofs at Romeville Elementary and the cafeteria and kitchen roofs at Fifth Ward Elementary, as well as both schools’ air conditioning systems, but the bid exceeded the budget allowed for the project.

Project advisor Ted Beaullieu of Beaullieu and Associates, Inc.,recommended that the board reject the almost $1.5 million base bidsubmitted by Volute, Inc., of Houma, and re-advertise for bids beginningDec. 9. The deadline to accept bids is Jan. 25, 2000.Board member Willis Octave questioned delaying the project for another seven months because of serious leaks and damage at Fifth Ward Elementary.

The roof is severely damaged in the cafeteria where food is served, Octave said.

Beaullieu said a roofing contractor could do a temporary patch of the schools’ roofs, which is a method that has been used in the past, then the repairs can be done next summer when school is out and classes would not be disrupted.

Member George Nassar requested Beaullieu have a roofing contractor check the parish’s other schools for damage at the same time as Romeville and Fifth Ward.

In other business, four teachers recently resigned from Romeville Elementary, effective June 1, said Millie Matherne, administrative director for the school system’s auxiliary services and personnel department.

In addition to these four resignations, four other teaching positions are currently vacant at the school, which has the most teachers leaving of any other school in the parish, she said.

Member Kathleen Becnel said she thought the number of vacancies at Romeville, one of the parish’s lowest performing schools, was rather high, and asked Matherne if she knew why the teachers had resigned.

Matherne said teachers do not have to specify why they are leaving, but she hopes to bring the names of some replacements to the board’s next meeting.

Octave worried that if the parish waits until the end of July to hire new people, certified teachers will already have been scooped up by other school systems.

East Baton Rouge Parish has an incentive program for certified teachers, Octave said.

“We need high performing teachers,” he said.

In other action, the board unanimously approved Superintendent-elect P.

Edward Cancienne’s re-organizational plan for the school board office.

The plan calls for responsibility in the office to be divided into six different areas, which Cancienne said will allow for “direct line accountability” from each of the divisions.

Cancienne takes over as school superintendent on July 1.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent Caldonia Ceasar will take sabbatical leave for the next school year, Matherne said.

Ceasar will begin her leave about a month early, using sick or vacation time to make up for days she will take off before her leave officially starts, according to Matherne. Ceasar will return to her post June 1, 2000.The system will advertise for an acting administrative director to fill in for Ceasar until she returns from sabbatical, Matherne said.

Tuesday’s meeting was the last for Interim Superintendent Walter J.

Landry, Sr., as Cancienne will be in office the next time the board meets.Octave and Nassar thanked Landry for his time and efforts as superintendent just before the meeting adjourned.

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