School Board adopts 4-day schedule for Grand Lake schools

By Jeffra Wise DeViney

Cameron Parish School Board met for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, May 8, at 5 p.m. at 510 Marshall St., Cameron. All board members were in attendance with exception of Joe Delcambre, District 7, who was absent.

Parish Students of the Year were recognized. They are: Fifth grade Hackberry High School, Cannon Liscum; Eighth grade Grand Lake High School, McKenzie Trahan and Twelfth Grade Grand Lake High School, Nelly Gonzalez-Chan, who was in attendance to receive a certificate of Achievement, presented by Courtnie King.

The board room was packed with Grand Lake educators who were rallying support for approval from the board to vote in favor of a four day school week for Grand Lake High School and Grand Lake Elementary School.

The following staff members from the schools spoke in favor of a four day school week: Karen McCain, Robert Marcantel, Crissy LeDoux, Trevor Hebert, Scotty Poole and Jeff Wainwright. A concensus among them was retaining/attracting teachers, no pay raises, and they felt the students were stressed as well as the teachers, too. None felt that performance of the students would falter.

Superintendent Charley Lemons said that he remained neutral in the matter that it would be the Board’s decision. He said that listening to concerns of teachers, he was worried about losing teachers for better jobs and “we have dang good teachers; teachers affect students’ performance.” He did think a four-day program would entice teachers in matters of recruitment and retention, but “respects what the Board decides.”

Randall Faulk, District 8, representing Grand Lake weighed-in saying more research should be done and opposed the change. Sheila Miller, District 4 Board members said she valued everyone’s opinion and that everyone had been well spoken about the subject.

She personally had worked both a four and five day school schedule and made the motion to adopt the calendar comparable to other parish schools. It was seconded by Marsha Trahan, District 1; all were in favor with Faulk in opposition. Joe Delcambre had conveyed his support in absentia, the motion carried to adopt the four day program.

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, Grand Lake Elementary and High School will move to a four day school week. They adopted the four day calendar that was already decided on at the March meeting with the request for Superintendent Lemons to explore the options to make the school day shorter.

A request by South Cameron Fire District regarding Section 16-14-6 was approved by the Board to enter into a co-operative endeavor for 1/4 to 1/2 acre of the property to provide area residents with better fire protection and increase the fire rating in the area to build a new fire station.

Action was taken by the Board in voting and approving a 13th check allocation for the 2022-23 fiscal year at a 4% increase for teachers.

Board members voted and approved for the student’s last day to be moved to Tuesday, May 23, and teachers’ and staff’s last day will be Thursday, May 25.