Lafayette Rep. Nancy Landry To Propose Constitutional Amendment To Explore Alternatives To Lafayette School Board Governance
One Acadiana lawmaker is filing a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would allow voters in to look into alternate ways to govern Lafayette Parish's school system.
Rep. Nancy Landry said school boards were conceived to remove politics from education, but that has been a "dismal failure."
Traditional school boards were conceived to take politics out of the governance of education. And I think we can all agree that that's been a dismal failure.
School board meetings of the Lafayette Parish School System have often been bogged down by oftentimes contentious arguments between board members and the system's superintendent, Dr. Pat Cooper. But Landry said such dysfunction is not a symptom belonging to Lafayette alone.
"Every major city in Louisiana is having the same sort of problems," Landry said. "And almost 100 percent of urban school districts across the nation are having the same type of problems."
"And so the experts now are looking at maybe it's not the makeup of the board that's causing the problem--maybe it's the structure itself that lends itself to dysfunction," she added.
Landry's proposed amendment would not seek to abolish the current governance structure but instead create a commission which would look into alternatives to the current system. Any recommendations from that commission would be subject to approval from the voter's of Lafayette, Landry said.
Landry said the traditional school board governance structure is based on an outdated nineteenth century business model. The commission could look into tweaks to the current structure, such as adding at-large board members or changing the qualifications for board members, she said.
To listen to the full interview with Rep. Landry, click on the 'Play' button below.