Boquet: St. John Public School District offers many thanks

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you to the residents of St. John the Baptist Parish who voted to support their public schools on Dec. 10. While new taxes are never welcome, you made the decision that education is an important investment for your community and we couldn’t be prouder to have earned your support.

Your school district has made some important strides in the past few years, and we are excited that with your help we will be able to continue on this path.

We’ve recently been named a B school district by the Louisiana Department of Education for the second year in a row and are the only district in the state to achieve that letter grade while educating a student population where at least 85 percent are classified as economically disadvantaged.

While this is a major accomplishment, we have our sights set even higher.

We’ve made it our goal to become an A district and your support will help us reach this goal in several ways.

First, we know that our schools can only be as good as the teachers who interact with our students every day.

However, even though our district ranks near the top of the state in teacher salaries, we lag behind compared to neighboring parishes.

This makes it all too easy for the best and brightest educators to travel a few miles down the road for work.

The money you provide will be used to boost pay for our teachers so that we can not only hire highly qualified, highly effective teachers but retain them as well.

We also know that it takes more to operate an effective school district than just teachers.

This money will also be used to raise the salaries of support staff so that we can ensure we have the most qualified bus drivers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians and other personnel to make sure our district runs smoothly and professionally.

And because our students deserve a learning environment free of distractions such as leaky roofs and faulty air conditioners, approximately half of this money will be used for building maintenance and to improve safety measures on our campuses.

In the same report by the Louisiana Department of Education in which the school district received its B letter grade, other data showed that our school district is taking steps to better prepare our students for life beyond our halls by raising ACT scores and working with students who have fallen behind.

And, while letter grades are important measures of how well we are doing, that is our ultimate goal — to prepare the children of St. John the Baptist Parish for their futures and to be successful members of this community or whatever community in which they choose to live.

It’s a circle that starts with today’s adults supporting them on their educational journey.

On Dec. 10, St. John the Baptist Parish did just that.

Thank you again for your support.

Jennifer Boquet is the communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. Email her at