RPSB elects new leadership for 2022

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 3:56 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2022 at 8:59 PM CST
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The Rapides Parish School Board resumed meeting for the second half of the academic year on Wednesday, January 5. Big items on the agenda had to do with elections, particularly the voting in of a new president, vice-president and executive committee for 2022.

The board elected Dr. Stephen Chapman, of District E, to the seat of president for a one-year term, replacing Willard McCall, of District D, after McCall rejected District I representative Sandra Franklin’s nomination for him to remain in the seat. Chapman was approved uncontested.

“This board is very good as far as having good ideas, working with the superintendent,” said Chapman. “We’re very diverse, we have different ideas, but at the same time, we work together well.”

In turn, McCall was voted in as vice-president for a one-year term, replacing Chapman. Linda Burgess, of District F, nominated Franklin to the vice-presidency, but the board voted 7 to 2 in favor of McCall.

The board also nominated and approved the 2022 executive committee. Chapman nominated Burgess, Steve Barry and Keith Breazeale to the committee, but Barry withdrew his name. He was replaced by a nomination for Franklin. All three nominations received unanimous board approval.

The board also approved a motion to call for a special election on April 30 for five tax continuations in the parish, as well as a $100 million bond issue for Consolidated School District No. 62, which is made up of Alexandria schools. The bond proposal is in early planning stages, and the board is working closely with community members to create a plan to address priorities the bond should address.

Due to a six-month lock-out period, the bonds that failed on Dec. 11 cannot be put on the ballot again until the fall.

The board is also working with Superintendent Jeff Powell to address COVID-19 safety in schools.

“We talk to Dr. Holcombe regularly. In fact, I was on a call with him earlier today. All of us local superintendents were on the call,” explained Powell. “We follow the numbers just like everyone else does. And when it gets to a situation where a class, or a grade level, or a school, or a community, we have to address things when the numbers go up, we will address those just as we have over the last couple of years.”

Newly-elected Vice-President McCall said he plans on meeting with Superintendent Powell on Thursday to talk about how they can keep students safe during the surge in cases.

“I just want to make sure we still track forward instead of going backward,” elaborated Willard. “We got a lot going on with this virus and stuff going around, so last year we had to work our behinds off to make sure our schools were sanitized and stuff. And I’m going to be working with the superintendent. I’m going to talk to Dr. Chapman. We need to get started back on temperature checks and everything else so we can keep our schools open.”

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