Cindy Abshire was named IHS assistant principal. The board approved Superintendent John E. Bourque’s recommendation of Abshire by a vote of 7-0, with board member Israel Syria was absent from the meeting.
“Thank you very, very much for this opportunity,” said Abshire, “and I want to thank you for the vote of confidence. I won’t let you down.”
“I will work hard and I already told Dr. Miller ‘I’m ready to go’.”
She stated that she plans to meet with Iota High Principal Gibson Miller soon, and that she looks forward to moving Iota High as forward as possible.
Abshire also thanked both her family and principals Clyde Briley, Midland High, and Charles Barbier, Iota Elementary, who she credited for getting her to where she is today
“I want to thank two men that aren’t here tonight,” she said. “But I want to thank Mr. Briley and Mr. Barbier, both who were very good to me and have supported me the last 20 years.”
Abshire joked that while her two children were very happy for her opportunity, they were also thankful that they had already graduated.
Milton Simar said that he was pleased with the board’s decision.
“She is one of the real good people we have in our system,” he said. “I feel fortunate we have her.”
Lynn Shamsie echoed Simar’s thoughts.
“I second that because I know that she is one of the best.”
Miller was also in attendance and took the opportunity to congratulate Abshire and stated he was looking forward to working with her.
“I’ve known her for a long time and I know we will make a great team,” said Miller.
Also at the meeting, the reauthorization of Iota High’s creative writing elective was approved. The program saw success in its first year with several of the students who participated placing first in a variety of writing competitions. Several of those students were recognized at the June school board meeting.
Two bus drivers, Greg Benoit and Zora Laughlin, were also approved. Laughlin will replace the retiring Annette Gaspard in the North Crowley area, while Benoit will take the Alternative School route on the East side of the parish over. Benoit, who was in attendance for the meeting thanked the board for their approval.
The 2010-11 school board budget was also accepted by a vote of 7-0. The board, after years of a surplus, is now facing a $1.3 million deficit. The board attributes this to, among other things, the rising costs of retirement and health care and a drop in state funding.
On a happier note, North Crowley Elementary reported that the roof work on their school had not only been completed 30 days ahead of schedule, but that the company, Mid-Western Commercial Roofers, Inc. had done an exemplary job.
“I can’t say anything negative about them,” said Steve Jones. “They left it cleaner than they received it and they fixed extra issues at no charge.”
Based off of those comments, the board approved substantial completion at the school by a vote of 7-0.
During the correspondence section, Superintendent Bourque also cautioned board members to keep an eye on the possible student-based budget plans BESE has begun looking at. If the measure is approved by BESE, a shift in how money is distributed to schools would occur. Instead of sending money to the school districts, money would be sent directly to the schools, allowing principals and others to choose how to allocate funds in their schools.
“It is something that would not be beneficial to us and many other parishes,” he said. “I think we need to stay on top of this.”
As the meeting came to a close, the superintendent stated that it was great to recognize all the retirees tonight.
“[Retirees] are our greatest ambassadors,” he said. “They help show that we put children first in Acadia Parish.”
He also reflected on this meeting marking the eight-year anniversary of his first attended Acadia Parish School Board meeting, stating that he almost didn’t apply for the job because of what he saw that night at a five-and-a-half hour meeting.
Instead, he decided to apply and revamp the school board.
“It’s not something that happens by accident, though. It’s only with the school board members all being on board can changes be made.”
The next meeting for the school board will be August 2, which is less than two weeks prior to the start of the 2010-11 school year.