Schools set for renovations

Michael Tortorich

DONALDSONVILLE – The Ascension Parish School Board Tuesday took another step toward renovating 20 district schools.

The board adopted the certified election results from Oct. 17 when parish voters authorized a $100 million bond initiative.

The district will begin with smaller projects at the beginning of next year, eventually moving on to larger projects, such as the complete campus overhaul of schools like G.W. Carver Primary in Gonzales.

In another matter, member Harold Jarreau said the board will use the Ascension Civic Center in Sorrento as a storage warehouse.

The board owns the center, and has been leasing it to the parish, which has been renting it for various events. The annual Sorrento Boucherie Festival and the annual Sorrento Fire Department Trail Ride has been among the major events held at the facility.

The board has outgrown its current storage areas, making the move necessary, Jarreau said.

In another move, the board approved the donation of six buses to the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and one bus to the Gonzales Police Department.

Five of the buses going to the OEP are 1993 Ford models, while one is a 1995 Ford model. A 1992 Ford will be given to Gonzales Police.

In another matter involving buses, member Kerry Diez said the district will try a pilot program on the west side of the parish to determine the value of bus routing software. He said if the software proves to make routing more efficient, it will be implemented throughout the district.

Earlier in the evening, the technology committee met and discussed current projects, including the installation of equipment at parish schools.

A video conferencing system will be installed so the school system will be able to remain in contact with the OEP during emergencies.

It was also reported in the committee meeting that 45 teacher Web sites w ill be moved to the parish’s site, rather than remaining as single sites.

In an unrelated matter, the board accepted the retirement of Supervisor of Child Nutrition Denise Heisser, effective Jan. 29, 2010.

Superintendent Donald Songy said Heisser “has a way of working with people and she brings out the best in everybody.”

“We certainly wish her well,” he added.

Board President Ed Price said calls to board members concerning food service issues “decreased tremendously” once Heisser took over the position.

“That tells me you were doing a great job,” Price said.

“I didn’t do it alone,” Heisser said. “All of my people helped me along the way.”

The board gave approval for permission to advertise for the position.