Approval of BPSB Superintendent contract deffered

By Michelle Bates

Some members Bienville Parish School Board were a little confused and concerned regarding the Superintendent of Schools’ contract.

In Thursday’s monthly meeting, William Wysinger’s contract came up for renewal and approval, but Districts 1 and 2 Board Members Sharolyn Boston and Oswald Townsend were concerned because Townsend said they hadn’t seen the contract before the meeting. Therefore, he said, he couldn’t vote for approval of the contract until he’d had a chance to look at it.

“Can we vote on something that we haven’t seen?” Boston asked, to which Wysinger said he thought the contract was in the board’s packets and handed out copies of his contract.

Calloway explained that in the past, the board president and the superintendent would meet and discuss the contract before it was brought before the board for approval.

“We’ve never seen a copy of the superintendent’s contract,” he said. “It’s always been the superintendent and the school board president who took care of it.”

“If we don’t see the contract, then how do we know what’s on the contract?” Townsend asked. “Every meeting we’ve had and everything we’ve voted on is included in our packet. I can’t vote on something I can’t take a look at.”

Wysinger replied that his contract could be deferred until October.

“Since I’ve been in this parish, that’s how they did it,” District 7 Board Member Donald Calloway said. “We’re not trying to hide anything from the school board. The president of the school board and the superintendent always got together, and someone wanted to see the contract, and a couple of months later, they got the contract to show them what was in it. That’s just been how it’s been for the past 30 years.”

Calloway first made the motion to approve Wysinger’s contract, seconded by District 3 Board Member Derrika Bailey. Following the motion, it went to a roll call vote, with four in favor and three against. Townsend, District 4 Board Member Darren Iverson, and District 6 Board Member Colton Guin were the nay votes. In favor were Boston, Bailey, District 5 Board Member Martha Grigg and Calloway.

Boston, after more discussion, changed her vote to abstain, which brought the board to a tie. The board then voted to defer the contract until October.

On Monday, The Bienville Democrat sent a public records request to Wysinger, asking for the contract. While it was provided to school board members, The Democrat, as of press time, has not received a copy of it. The school board has three days from the receipt of the records request to produce the document or provide in writing the reason for not producing it.

In other school board news, the board approved:

– The 2023-24 Pupil Progression Plan

– The Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire, which is required for the school board’s annual audit

– Millage rates as follows: Constitutional, 5.99 mills; Operational, 7.93 mills; Repair and Upkeep , 7.93 mills; Employee Benefit Tax (9 mill), 13.09 mills; Employee Benefit Tax (23 mill), 25.07 mills; School District #1, 21.10 mills; School District #2, 9.00 mills; School District #16-37, 54.12 mills; and School District #33, 13.50 mills

– Adoption of policy revisions, which include File: BCAD, Teleconference/Remote Participation in School Board Meetings; File: BCBI, Public Participation in School Board Meetings; File: EBBB, School and Student Safety; File: EDCB, Carpool and Bus Line Safety; File: IDCJ, Continuous Learning; File: JB, Attendance; File: JBD, Student Absences and Excuses; File: JDA, Corporal Punishment; and File: JGCD, Administration of Medicine;

– The issuance of a recruitment/retention supplement to staff that met all the criteria. The supplement was $2,000

– The use of the Ringgold High School parking lot for the Slabtown Parade set for Saturday, Sept. 23.

The next school board meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m., at the school board annex, located at 1956 First St.

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