Push for locals to work in St. John school rebuilding

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board authorized Superintendent Kevin George to enter into two professional service contracts at this month’s meeting, a move that could mean more jobs for St. John residents and better legislative representation for the school district.

The Board authorized George to enter into professional service contracts with Eliza Eugene Enterprises and Guidry Associates, two St. John-based businesses.

The contract with Eugene aims to ensure the greatest amount of local participation in the district’s rebuilding efforts of East St. John High School and Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, the two schools damaged in 2012’s Hurricane Isaac.

Over the last few months, several board members have expressed their desire for local contractors to get involved in the rebuilding efforts of the schools.

George said Eugene will work as a liaison between local contractors and workers and the firms in charge of construction.

He said she will work to keep local workers informed of deadlines for applications, certifications needed and jobs available to make sure anyone qualified locally to work at the schools will have all information needed to get hired for those jobs.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure local participation in our rebuilding efforts,” George said.

George said the contract with Guidry Associates as a government relations consultant was important to ensure the district had the greatest amount of local representation possible.

George said the district has never had their own government relations consultant.

“We kind of just did it on our own,” George said. “Having someone at the sessions following and tracking bills is going to be very beneficial to the district.”

He said Guidry will serve as the district’s voice as he researches and lobbies for legislation that is beneficial to St. John Parish Schools.

George said contract terms, including length and price of contract, are being negotiated with Eugene and Chris Guidry of Guidry Associates.