BOARD WORKSHOP OF JANUARY 12, 2022 ~ 5:00 p.m.


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 Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria, 1600 Highway 44, Reserve,  Louisiana, on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.


The agenda for the workshop is attached.



Dr. Lynett Hookfin



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


The Chair called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m. She called for a moment of silent meditation and the Pledge of Allegiance.


Dr. Keller asked that we keep the family of Leona Miano (bus driver) in our prayers, as she recently passed away.


ITEM 2. Roll Call of Members:


PRESENT:          Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Schum, Wallace, Triche, Mitchell -Williams

ABSENT:            Holden, Burl, Jones, Johnson


There were 7 members present and 4 members absent. 


ITEM 3. Public Comment. Financial Update


Dr. Hookfin shared the following information:












Mr. Burl arrived at 5:09 p.m. and was recorded as present.


Mrs. Schum asked if the December ending balance includes the $7.5 million loan and the $5 million insurance advance?  Mr. David Andras stated that yes, the $7.5 million loan is included but the $5 million insurance advance was recorded in a previous month.


Dr. Hookfin stated that we were approved for a #30 million hurricane loan, and have drawn down $22 million of those funds.  The $22 million, plus the $5 million insurance advance, must be used to ay our remediation contractors and the expenses owed. She further stated that a board member asked if we need to consolidate schools in the future.  The answer will be discussed further during Agenda Item 10, but this is dependent on the February 2nd count.  If we continue on this trajectory, the answer would be yes, we would need to consolidate schools.


Mrs. Schum asked where the $22 million draw-down reflected in the funds.  Mr. Andras stated that the $22 million was not drawn down until January, so it will be reflected in the January totals, along with the ad valorem taxes.


Dr. Hookfin stated that NIET will be discussed later in the agenda, but what’s important to note is that the district is responsible for covering 10 master teachers and fringe, $31,663 and 75% of the payout.  The total responsibility is $232,442.  Part of this responsibility is paying for some master teachers from grants.  This grant funding could have been used for other positions.


Mr. Burl asked if the Board could receive a report showing the actual cash balance and the cash balance with the hurricane-related revenue and expenses.  Mr. Andras stated that the finance department can/will do that.


The NIET representatives were on a Zoom call to answer questions from the Board. Therefore, at this time, there was a


MOTION BY:    Sanders

SECOND BY:   DeFrancesch

MOTION:           To amend the agenda to address Item #9 at this time.

Roll Call:

8 Yeas – Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Schum, Wallace, Triche, Mitchell-Williams

3 Absent – Holden, Jones, Johnson

The motion carried.


ITEM 9.  Public Comment.  NIET Update


Dr. Davita Lancelin, Mrs. Vicky Condalary and Ms. Sheila Talamo were on the Zoom call representing NIET.


Mrs. Holden arrived at 5:35 p.m. and was recorded as present.


Mrs. Vicky Condalary stated that she will talk about some of the support they have provided:  They have provided teachers support with best practices and instructional leadership teams, including professional learning experiences, cluster support.  They have targeted  the district’s ability to sustain best practices. The following slides were shared:



























Following the presentation by NIET representatives, Mrs. Schum asked when the payout will be in St. John.  Mrs. Seymour stated that there were 2 verifications sent to St. John, and both were incorrect.  Corrections were made and sent back to NIET.  She stated that the final verification was received yesterday and are converting this to a spreadsheet to send to payroll.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams asked if we could set a date of February 10th for payout.  Mr. Andras stated that it would not be a feasible date, as the finance department is working on getting W-2s out and all of the bookkeeping dept. has been out per COVID protocols.  Mr. Sanders asked if we have communicated with our employees regarding the payout date.  Mrs. Seymour stated that the curriculum department will send an update to principals.  Mr. Sanders asked that communication come from the district office.  Dr. Hookfin agreed that something will go out from the district level.


Dr. Hookfin stated that she has asked for data from NIET since she began her tenure here. Until now, she has not received the data asked for and she will continue to ask for it.  Mr. Sanders asked who the point of contact was and was told that Dr. Hill is the contact for NIET. He further stated that we need to determine if our district is benefitting by continuing the relationship with NIET.   Dr. Hookfin stated that although they support the schools, we need real data to make that type of decision and we need to speak with principals and teachers.  Mr. Sanders asked if administration recommends not continuing the relationship with NIET, do we have a plan to replace the support.  Dr. Hookfin replied that we have no choice but to replace it to commit to excellence and provide the professional development needs of the district.  Mrs. Schum asked several questions regarding the payout.  She stated the principal payout is very different and how does that work.  NIET stated that principal payouts are partial payouts and they can receive a portion based on their school’s scores.  Mrs. Schum stated that she has always asked for a Teacher Retention Report and has never gotten that.  As far as sustainability, NIET stated that the district already had 12 master teachers in place, so they knew we could sustain at least 12 positions.  Mrs. Schum asked if there is a written sustainability plan and if so, can that plan be forwarded to the Board members.  NIET stated that there is a sustainability plan and it has been shared with administration before.  Mr. Burl asked if the LDOE is going to be mandating the NIET best practices at the state level.  NIET responded that they are working with LDOE to develop best practices statewide.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams stated that we need a Professional Development Plan in house.  We need to develop an in-house performance-based incentive pay plan for St. John.


ITEM 4.  Public Comment.  Mrs. Janice Gauthier – Review RFP for Transportation Fleet Mechanic


Mrs. Gauthier stated that the draft RFP was emailed to the Board on 12-9-2021 and the Board authorized administration to advertise for the Fleet Mechanic contract.  She asked if the Board had any recommendations on the verbiage of the RFP.  Mr. Sanders asked that, in the future, if strike-throughs could be used on revised copies.  He further stated that it is not for the Board to add or delete language, administration should present something to us to approve or not approve.


ITEM 5.  Public Comment. Proposal from Superintendent and Finance Department on plan to provide up-to-date budget-to-actual, monthly expenditures verses monthly income


Dr. Hookfin stated that there needs to be a redesign of the finance department by February of 2022 due to the Corrective Action Plan we signed with the auditors.  There are critical positions that need to be filled: Staff Accountant and a Payroll Manager.  She presented the Board with 4 Options for the redesign.  Mrs. Schum asked which positions need to be filled immediately to record day-to-day entries, to which Dr. Hookfin replied the Staff Accountant.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams stated that the Personnel Committee needs to meet to develop the job description and the Board must approve it before that can happen.  Mr. Burl stated that it is critical that we get a CFO on board.  Dr. Hookfin respectfully disagreed.  Mr. Sanders stated that during Dr. Hookfin’s tenure, there has been adequate time to hire a CFO.  Dr. Hookfin stated that there have been several rounds of interviews and advertising for a CFO, but the Board must remember that we are currently competing with neighboring parishes, who are also seeking a CFO and we will continue the search.  Mr. Sanders stated that he knows for a fact that there have been competent applicants for CFO, but they have been denied being offered a position.  Mrs. Schum stated that we need to expedite the process to get an accountant hired.  We could introduce the job description and wave policy to approve at the same meeting.  She stated that another important step is to raise the salary of the CFO.


ITEM 6.  Public Comment.Update on Hurricane Ida Repairs


Public Comment.  Mr. Derron Cook, SJAE Vice President – Asked how soon the students at ESJH could get back into the building.  He stated that the students at ESJH deserve the same education as all the rest of the schools, and it’s time to get these students back to school full time.

Public Comment.  Mr. Terrance Rice, Fulcrum – Stated that he is a vendor that worked on WSJE and wants to know when he will get paid.  It’s been 80 days since the invoice was given to the All South and he has not seen any money yet.


Mrs. Holden asked if any vendors have been paid.  Mr. David Andras stated that we had received approval from All South to pay some invoices and Fulcrum’s approval was received today.  He further stated that if all the paperwork and documents are not in place for reimbursement from FEMA or Insurance, they can’t receive approval for payment.


Mrs. Mitchell-Williams stated that All South and a representative from Sedwick needs to be at the retreat.  The Board needs timelines of when buildings will be ready, costs, who has been paid and when as well as how much has been spent on mitigation and how much will be needed for permanent repairs.  Mr. Sanders asked Dr. Hookfin to let All South know that they must communicate with these vendors regarding the payment.  Mr. Burl stated that the Board needs to know who has been paid and we need to make good-faith payments to all of the vendors who are waiting to get paid.  Mrs. Mitchell asked if Fulcrum will be paid by next Friday, to which Mr. Andras replied yes.


ITEM 7.  Public Comment.  Final proposition language and discussion of project list that funds will cover for the election on April 30, 2022


Mr. Toby Cortez stated that the language is general – construction – and now is not necessarily the time to add specific construction projects.  It would be a good time to begin putting a list together on what the Board would like to see happen with this money.  He stated to keep in mind that this money can be used for critical hurricane repairs.  Ms. DeDe Riggins stated that there are 2 options:  1-Keep at the current 11 mills ($59,000,000); or 2-Drop to 10 mills ($45,000,000).  She stated that either way, the School Board will not be raising taxes and we need to set Public Forums to receive input from the public regardless of which one the Board chooses.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams asked the Board members to email their ideas to her and Mrs. Waller.


ITEM 8.  Public Comment. Instructional Minutes at ESJHS and plans for their schedule


Public Comment.  Mr. Derron Cook, SJAE Vice President – Stated that he has concerns about the A-B schedule the students are currently on.  He stated that because the building is not in imminent danger of collapse, he feels the students should be back on their campus going a full day, every day.  He feels the permanent repairs can be made in the summer.


Mrs. Seymour stated that to supplement student learning, there is after-school tutoring, Saturday tutoring, math nights, and students can request one-on-one time with the teachers via Zoom or Teams.


Mrs. Schum stated that she has significant issues with the A-B schedule.  She asked Dr. Hookfin for a specific plan to have students at ESJH receive the same amount of instruction that ever other student in this district.  Dr. Hookfin replied that she has been in discussion with All South to determine if it would be quicker to move trailers or fix the building.  We do have the cost for moving the trailers and the this is something that will not happen overnight.   Mrs. Schum stated that we have known since before December that this model is not working for ESJH.  We need to have a plan to have these students full time by February 2nd, which is the start of the second semester.  She asked Dr. Hookfin when the Board will know her plan to have ESJH students back at school full time. She stated that the Board needs a plan from her with timelines, associated costs and feasibility, etc. to make this happen.  Mrs. Mitchell-Williams asked Dr. Hookfin if the Board could have that plan for the Retreat.  Dr. Hookfin replied yes.  Mr. Burl stated that the problem we’re having is because we have a grants management company and not a project manager.


ITEM 9.  This item was addressed earlier in the meeting.


ITEM 10.  Public Comment. Staffing/ Vacancies


The following was shared:


Mr. Sanders stated that he has noticed a push on Facebook for employees and asked if we could push for the Critical Shortage of retired teachers.  Discussion was held regarding how to attract certified teachers.


ITEM 11.  Board Items of Interest


Mr. Burl asked that we discuss the salary schedule at the Retreat.


Dr. Keller stated that he spoke with All South regarding some GOSEP funding from Hurricane Isaac.  Paperwork has been submitted and it’s roughly $125,000.


Mrs. Holden stated that there needs to be something done to the old Lucy school property.  It is deplorable and we have to address it.


Mrs. Schum asked that the Board be presented with an Updated Organizational Chart so the Board can have a clear picture of the Central Office.


ITEM 12.  Adjournment


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


MOTION BY:    Wallace

SECOND BY:   Holden

MOTION:           Motion for adjournment.

There were no objections.

The motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 7:27 p.m.



_____________________________________                             ________________________________

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