2015 Bossier Parish School Board Members & Officers Sworn In
A new Bossier Parish School Board, along with new officers, have been sworn in for 2015.
There are five new and seven returning board members who will serve for the next four years. After their swearing-in ceremony, 2014 Board President Brad Bockhaus ceremoniously passed the gavel to 2015 President Glen Bullard. Samm Darby will serve as Vice-President.
Bullard gave board members an overview of what lies ahead this year. Here are his remarks, courtesy of Bossier Parish Schools Liaison Sonja Bailes:
"Members of the Board, Superintendent Machen, School System Administrators and Employees, Ladies & Gentlemen.
Ms. Darby & I thank you for granting us this opportunity to serve in these leadership roles during 2015. It is an honor we shall endeavor to fulfill in an appropriate & effective manner.
My fellow board members, 2015 promises to be an exciting year, filled with many wonderful opportunities, as well as some significant challenges.
Tonight, several of you take your seat at this podium for the first time. But it makes no difference whether you are a novice or a veteran. This morning we awakened as individuals, but tonight we all sit as one board, dedicated to one goal . . . providing the children of Bossier Parish with the very best educational opportunities possible
Forget all the idle chatter and media commentary about what service as a school board member is, or is not, all about. As we begin this New Year, remain always focused on some basic, fundamental responsibilities which will be the measure of our success or failure.
First, as members of the Bossier Parish School Board, our actions and decisions directly impact over 22,000 students. And, the continued livelihood and prosperity of some 3,400 employees depends on each of us making informed, rational, intelligent decisions. We oversee a total budget that has grown to over $224 Million.
Over 7,500 individuals depend on us - not some faraway, faceless bureaucracy -- to make certain they have the health insurance benefits so vitally important to them and their loved ones. The Bossier Parish School System is a self-funded health plan, and it is our responsibility to administer that plan in such a fashion as to assure its’ long-term viability.
2015 will be the year when the citizens of Bossier Parish, who so graciously approved $210 million for construction of new schools, will begin to see some real, tangible results, with the opening of Kingston Road Elementary School and the Bossier Parish School for Technology & Innovative Learning (BPSTIL). Plus, we will soon break ground for construction of the new Haughton Middle School, as well as new construction and renovations at Airline High School.
However, much remains to be decided. To date, we have approved the issuance of only $95 Million in authorized bonds; less than half. In fact, this coming Tuesday afternoon we will convene to consider future projects, such as how best to address looming over-crowding at Benton Middle School & Benton High School. But, that is only one of the areas we are going to have to address this year.
And then, there is that simmering cauldron of controversy collectively referred to as “Common Core.” A concept which originated not from within this building, but within the walls of the State Capitol, the State Department of Education, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and entities located far beyond our state borders.
Neither the administration of this school system, nor members of this school board, conceived the idea, but it is our teachers, administrators, students, parents, and board members who are burdened with implementing the resulting state laws and mandates, regardless of our individual feelings. This is an issue this board will, almost certainly, be called upon to review this year.
As you can readily see, our plate for 2015 is full to over-flowing. There will no time to consider personal agendas or special interests. The Bossier Parish School System is recognized state-wide as a dynamic and innovative educational system, and it is our collective responsibility to perpetuate and enhance the ability of our teachers, employees and administrators to continue down the path toward academic excellence for all of our students. It is my most sincere desire that every member of this board will remain true to this task and let it influence your every action and decision.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of this board. I shall endeavor to represent you in a proper and professional manner, and I look forward to expanding and strengthening our collaborative ties to all segments of the community.
My pledge to you is that I will seek to conduct our meetings in a professional and civil manner, always open to the free exchange of ideas. Debate and the presentation of opposing viewpoints will be welcomed, but with the understanding comments must, at all times, be courteous and respectful.
Thank you again for your past support, and I earnestly solicit your future guidance and counsel as we embark on our journey into this exciting New Year."