The Chair called the meeting to order and read the following call: HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD

Parish of St. John the Baptist


Dear Board Member:


Upon call of the President, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board will meet for a Board Workshop at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School, 938 Highway 628, LaPlace, Louisiana, on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.


An agenda for the meeting is attached.



Dr. Lynett Hookfin



ITEM 1.  Call to Order, Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance


The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:07 p.m. She called for a moment of silent meditation and the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Mr. Sanders.


ITEM 2. Roll Call of Members:


PRESENT:          Holden, Keller, Schum, Wallace, Triche, Mitchell

ABSENT:            Burl, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson


There were 6 members present and 5 members absent. 


The Chair asked that the record reflect that Mr. Jones is ill and will not be in attendance and Mr. Burl will arrive late.


ITEM 3. Public Comment.  Mrs. Nia Mitchell-Williams – Discussion regarding advertising for Grounds Maintenance


Supt. Hookfin recommends we advertise now and long-term we investigate purchasing equipment to maintain our grounds maintenance in-house. Discussion was held regarding the current state of our grounds.  The Board agreed to bring this item to Land and Facilities and readvertise the contract as soon as possible once approval is given by the Board. Mr. Sanders asked administration to look at combining the 2 contracts into 1 for a cost-savings.  When asked, Mr. Orenthal Jasmin (DA’s Office) stated that there is no time limitation on when to advertise once authority is given to administration.  He stated that because this is a professional service contract, a Rapid RFP could be done.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams suggested that administration get the grass cut now (month to month) and then let the board read the draft RFP before voting on it.  Dr. Hookfin stated that she would speak with the vendors and work on getting the RFP drafted.


Mrs. Sanders arrived at 4:08 p.m. and was recorded as present.


ITEM 4.  Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates from Meetings with Administrators


Supt. Hookfin recommends we look into cost-savings measures by readvertising.   Mr. Sanders stated that although he is interested in saving money, he is more interested in safety regarding our fleet.  He further stated that he’d like to see a policy change that states all contracts will be re-bid 6 months before expiration, as this would take the politics out of the contracts.  Ms. Mitchell-Williams stated that we need to make sure that there is a checks and balance in place not only with this contract, but with all contracts to ensure that the vendors are following their contract before we pay them each month.  It was unofficially agreed that the Superintendent should continue this contract month to month and advertise for Fleet Mechanic as soon as possible.


ITEM 5.  Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Discussion/Update on old Leon Godchaux School Building


Dr. Hookfin thanked the District Attorney’s Office for working expeditiously with her on this issue. Mr. Orenthal Jasmin stated that the District Attorney’s Office recommends the demolition of this building as soon as possible. He further stated that by making an emergency declaration, you avoid having to go out for bids.  Mrs. Schum asked if we received any information from the DEQ regarding air quality.  Mr. Jasmin stated the following steps need to be taken:  1. Declare an emergency; 2. Secure a qualified, licensed contractor; 3. Direct questions to the qualified, licensed contractor regarding air quality, asbestos removal, etc.


ITEM 6. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Discussion regarding 30-60-90 Day Plan


Dr. Hookfin stated that there is a 1 sheet document included in everyone’s packet showing the priorities of administration.  Dr. Hookfin read the priorities aloud, stating that all of these bullets represent work currently occuring:


·         Provide updates on how the Board and SJBS will be fiscally responsible

·         Recommend long-term financial goals of the district based upon budget priorities and implement cost saving measures

·         Review vendor contracts with the Board

·         Financial trainings for cabinet members, principals, and department leaders

·         Recommend policies to the Board that will help enhance overall organizational effectiveness

·         Begin the review process of policies for the organization, recommend changes, and continue to enforce policies in place

·         Develop the District's Plan (include all stakeholders) for the 2021-22 school year -will include the district's mission, vision, and goals (emphasize academics)

·         Staffing Process & RIF Process (communicate with staff and community members)

·         Academic Committee Meetings

·         Assessment results of the District's Overall Instructional Program- recommend changes and next steps (REV AMP)

·         Public Relations- Promote positive district activities

·         Develop or rate systems in every department- recommend changes and next steps


Mr. Sanders stated that perhaps he should have been more specific when requesting this.  He stated that he wants a plan that will show him specifically what will occur in 30 days, in 60 days, and in 90 days.  Mrs. Schum stated that if there were completion dates by each priority, that would give the board a better understanding of when things will be accomplished.


ITEM 7a. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates:  Updates on the school calendar – Mrs. Seymour


Mrs. Seymour shared a draft of the school calendar that will be introduced at the April 15th Board meeting.  Mrs. Schum asked if the last day of school will be the same for virtual as is with in-person.  Mrs. Seymour stated that the calendar committee will meet again before the calendar is introduced to discuss this question and any other concerns.


2021-2022 Calendar Update

Calendar Committee- Consists of 6 employees chosen by superintendent and 6 SJAE representatives chosen by president

·         Meeting occurred on 3/22/2021 at 2:00 pm.

·         School Calendar, Employee Work Schedule, 9-month calendar, 240 calendar, 260 calendar, and chart of days worked by month introduced and reviewed

·         Calendar will revert to previously held start date, end date, and vacation schedule

o    See information below

·         All attendees have copy of information and were asked to review and provide feedback via email

·         Additional meeting will occur to review considerations- TBD

·         Calendar will be introduced to Board on April 15th and vote for approval on April 29th




Teacher Classroom Work Day

5 - 6

Professional Development Days


First Day of School for Students


First Day for Kindergarten / Universal PreK / LA4 / Model Early Students


First Day for Head Start Students







Labor Day Holiday

Early Release







End First Nine Week

Fall Break Holiday



Begin Second Nine Weeks

Early Release






Professional Development Day – No School for Students


Election Day Holiday (Primary/Congressional)

22 – 26


Thanksgiving Holidays

Students Return






½ Day for Students / End of Second Nine Weeks

20 - 31

Christmas Holidays





1 - 2

New Year’s Holiday


Professional Development Day – No School for Students


Students Return- Begin Third Nine Weeks


Martin Luther King Holiday


100th Day of School/Early Release








Early Release

Mardi Gras Holidays







Mardi Gras Holidays

Students Return



End of Third Nine Weeks

Begin Fourth Nine Weeks





15 - 22

Easter Holiday


Students Return






Last Day for Seniors (ESJH/WSJH)


Last Day for Students / ½ Day for Students/ End of Fourth Nine Weeks


Records’ Day



ITEM 7b. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin - Information regarding high school graduations - Mrs. Triche


The following information was shared:


·      All KN – 8th grade schools are planning graduations within COVID guidelines for PreK, KN, 8th grades.


·      ESJH graduation ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 6 p.m.  The location of the ceremony is the Pontchartrain Center located in Kenner, Louisiana. 


·      WSJH will have graduation exercises, Saturday, May 22nd at 10:00 am in the school gym following COVID guidelines.  Due to the current pandemic, it is necessary that we stay in compliance with the guidelines the Office of Public Health has shared with everyone as it relates to crowd size. Each graduate will be distributed tickets (number of tickets will be determined after latest crowd gathering guideline are released prior to April 22nd). 


ITEM 7c. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates on In Person Learning- Mrs. Triche


The following information was shared:


In – Person Learning Update 3/25/2021

MFP funding report displaying Virtual and In – Person learning for each school/program as of 3/25/2021.  As we work to enhance our attendance-taking measures, the total enrollment will match these numbers.



# In – Person Learning

# Virtual




East Saint John High



Laplace Elementary



East Saint John Prep



West Saint John High



West Saint John Elementary



Fifth Ward



Lake Pontchartrain



John L. Ory



Garyville Mt. Airy Magnet



St. John Success Academy



St. John E Learning



Emily C. Watkins



STEM Program



St. John Alternative Program




Mrs. Schum asked if there were plans to return to 5 days a week in-person learning.  Dr. Hookfin asked if any principals in the audience would like to come up and speak on this question.  Mr. Glen Chenier, principal of STEM Magnet Program spoke, stating that the STEM school was using the virtual Wednesdays as “Blitz Learning Days”.  Mrs. Zina Jones, principal of LaPlace Elementary stated that since returning to the 4 days a week in-person learning, she has had 2 (two) 2nd grade classrooms quarantined, along with 6 teachers out with COVID, and pushing the 5 days a week is not the answer, and neither is stopping the sanitizing on Wednesdays.


Mr. Burl arrived at 5:31 p.m. and was recorded as present.


Mr. Triche left the meeting at 5:35 p.m. and was recorded as absent.


ITEM 7d. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates on the RIF policy - Dr. Hookfin


Dr. Hookfin stated that she has contacted legal advisers and will now put on paper the numbers of what positions will need to be cut.  She stated that a surrounding parish has already put out their plan.  The fact remains that we are overstaffed at our schools.  The number of scholars doesn’t match the staff and we are currently drafting a one-sheeter of information to release to the public.  Mrs. Schum stated that the union must be notified 60 days in advance of any cuts and asked if we have made that notification.  Mrs. Schum further stated that we need to let the employees know soon (by April).  Dr. Hookfin stated that she will schedule that notification and is scheduling correspondence with legal, but needs legal to move faster.


ITEM 7e. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates on the CFO/Purchasing Director interviews - Dr. Hookfin and Dr. Hill


Dr. Hookfin stated that the 1st round of CFO interviews were held with 3 applicants and there needs to be a 2nd round.  Mr. Burl asked when we will have someone in place, to which Dr. Hookfin replied that she wants to have a recommendation next week.  As for the Purchasing Director, the first round interviews will be held soon.


ITEM 7f. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Updates on finances- P & N       


Mr. Tommy Naquin stated that the only signer on the LAMP account is Mr. Felix Boughton and his company is having trouble getting the information they need to proceed. Mr. Sanders asked if Mrs. Mitchell-Williams has been added to the bank account as a signer with Capital One.  She stated no.  Mrs. Schum asked if we are still overspending by $1.2 million and Mr. Naquin replied that he is waiting on the March bank statement before he could answer that question.


Mr. Johnson arrived at 6:01 p.m. and was recorded as present.


ITEM 7g. Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin - Additional cost saving ideas - Dr. Hookfin


Dr. Hookfin introduced Mr. Brennan Black and Mr. Toby Cortez with Foley & Judell and they presented the following information to the Board:















ITEM 8.  Public Comment.  Dr. Lynett Hookfin – Organizational Chart (approved February 13, 2020)


Public Comment:  Ms. Cindy Graham stated that under Superintendent George’s tenure, there were 33 positions either added or given promotions and asked that cuts be made everywhere else possible before the schools.


Dr. Hookfin stated that opposed to filling all the vacant positions on this chart, she will give stipends to those people who are stepping up and assisting with jobs outside of their scope, and by doing that, it would create a cost savings.  Mrs. Schum spoke against paying stipends, as she said it just opens up a whole new set of problems, and she would prefer to see interim appointments made.  Dr. Hookfin replied that she either needs to pay these people or have the hiring freeze lifted.  Mrs. Mitchell Williams suggested that an addendum to current contracts be made that includes additional duties, along with the amount to be paid until the end of this fiscal year.







The agenda having been completed, and there being no further business, there was a


MOTION BY:    Sanders

SECOND BY:   Holden

MOTION:           Motion for adjournment.

There were no objections.

The motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 6:39 p.m.




Dr. Lynett Hookfin, Superintendent/Secretary                                 Nia Mitchell-Williams, President