A first since July 27th– all but one of the Vermilion Parish School Board Members in the same room for a committee meeting.VPSB is still in the spotlight as board members are struggling to work together. All of the last three regular board meetings had to be canceled because not enough board members were present. Now, while this was only a committee meeting, officials say the cause for all the cancellations is turning personal.
“A significant number of board members that every time there’s anything to do with me, if it’s my contract, if its the budget, they’re against it. It’s not what’s best for kids.” said Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau.
“It’s not about the budget, they want to get rid of the superintendent plain and simple. It’s vengeance and it’s mean spirited.” said Vermilion Parish President Anthony Fontana.
School Board President, Anthony Fontana believes a handful of boycotting board members are the main reasons behind why deadlines have been missed during regular meetings and a budget has yet to be passed.
“Four of the board members, we weren’t given expenses. If you don’t give us line items or expenses how do you expect us to pass a budget without knowing what’s really going on.” said Laura LaBeouf.
Puyau says the budget follows state education guidelines and procedures and according to Fontana— the Chief Financial Officer for the district has made the effort to reach out to board members, something he says he’s done for the past 23 years.
Fontana says out of the four boycotting, only one board member took up that offer.
“So all this is bull that they are not getting the information they need about the budget. You had an opportunity to meet with the person who could answer all their questions and they still haven’t done it.” said Fontana.
School is already in session, and while important deadlines have already past, the budget deadline of September 15th looms ahead.
“I’d like to see them start working together but to do that you have to believe in the leader.” said Puyau.
Fontana says he is seven signatures short of 100 in order to call for a board meeting. Once he gets the rest of the signatures he says he will call for a meeting on Wednesday. Until then the next scheduled regular board meeting is on Thursday.