BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — For a second time in two weeks, parents, teachers, and staff call on East Baton Rouge Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse to step down.
“Absolutely just breaks my heart,” said Mary Trigg, parent and teacher of East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS). “I just want to see some change.”
“Just seems that teachers are not being put first,” said Amelia Gilmore, EBRPSS teacher.
At the beginning of May, 250 school staff members received a letter saying their jobs won’t exist next school year and they will be reassigned. Some teachers and parents say a last-minute notice like this will only push teachers out of the district.
On Thursday, the school system explained the staffing model at a school board meeting.
“While we must do better on communication and process. I will not apologize for the student-centered intent of the staffing model,” said Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse.
School board member Dadrius Lanus says he supports the staffing model but says the system lacked communication.
It’s scary to bring change, but you know what’s, even more, scarier is doing nothing and expecting something to change,” he said. “Teachers, all I’m asking you to do is help us fix this problem.”
Narcisse says the purpose of reassigning staff is to help fill 311 vacancies and to better schools averaging C, D, and F grades.
“No matter what community you live in. No matter where in this community you live in. You deserve high-quality teachers in front of them,” said Narcisse.
Another school board member, Jill Dyason, says the public reaction to the staffing model has been chaos. Board members Dyason and Lanus argued for better pay for school system employees.
“We need teachers to be heard and understood,” said Dyason.
Some parents say the answer to fixing staffing issues is incentives and new leadership.
“Women across the district were not included in a stipend that went out for 1,200 dollars because of maternity leave,” said Gilmore.
“If something doesn’t change, there’s not going to be anything left for our kids,” said Trigg.
Parents, staff, and teachers participated in public comment for more than two hours, pushing Narcisse to reconsider the staffing model. All employees who received the impacted employee notice are reassigned to a position.
The board is set to vote on a new social media policy for employees — something that was also mentioned during the rally.
UPDATE: The school board deferred discussing the social media policy to the July meeting.