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Staff shortages top issue for 2023 school board candidates | Education | #schoolsaftey


Teacher shortages, bus driver shortages and school safety are all topics that are top of mind for several of the candidates running for Lafayette Parish School Board.

The Acadiana Advocate asked the candidates to rank eight issues that impact Lafayette Parish schools – teacher shortage, bus driver shortage, student discipline, school safety, redistricting, aging infrastructure and buildings, curriculum and communication with families.

Of the 14 candidates who replied, most ranked a teacher shortage, bus driver shortage and school safety as some of the most important issues.

The candidates for District 7, incumbent Kate Labue and Grant Quinlan, and District 9 candidate Brandon Rodrigue did not respond to the questionnaire. District 5 School Board Member Britt Latiolais ran for re-election unopposed and was not sent the questionnaire.

Here are the top three issues indicated by each candidate:

  • David LeJeune, District 1: Teacher shortage, aging infrastructure and buildings, school safety
  • Mary Morrison, District 1: Teacher shortage, bus driver shortage, communication with families
  • Chad Desormeaux, District 2: School safety, teacher shortage, student discipline
  • Stasia Herbert-McZeal, District 2: Teacher shortage, communication with families, bus driver shortage
  • Emilie Lewis Duhon, District 3: Teacher shortage, bus driver shortage, student discipline
  • Josh Edmond, District 3: Student discipline, teacher shortage, school safety
  • Michelle Living, District 4: Student discipline, school safety, communication with families.
  • Amy Trahan, District 4: Teacher shortage, school safety, bus driver shortage
  • Roddy Bergeron, District 6: Teacher shortage, bus driver shortage, school safety
  • Sam Taulli Jr., District 6: Teacher shortage, communication with families, school safety
  • Holly Sanders, District 8: School safety, bus driver shortage, teacher shortage
  • Hannah Smith Mason, District 8: Bus driver shortage, aging infrastructure and buildings, communication with families
  • Jeremy Hidalgo, District 9: School safety, teacher shortage, student discipline
  • Linton Broussard, District 9: Communication with families, bus driver shortage, school safety.

Many school districts across the nation are facing teacher shortages. Shortages escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic with more teachers leaving the profession and fewer teachers entering the workforce, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Focus group attendees told the office that prospective teachers face high costs in becoming a teacher, salaries may not be enough to comfortably live on and there’s a negative perception about the teaching profession.

Many candidates also pointed to a shortage of school bus drivers as a concern. It’s another issue that’s impacting districts across the nation. Experts have pointed to several reasons for the shortages including low pay, COVID-19 concerns and more attractive private-sector jobs that make it harder to recruit new drivers.

The candidates also pointed to school safety as a concern. The district has made several changes and enhancements to school safety over the past few years, including a uniform system for visitor check-in and putting up fences on campuses to reduce entry points.

The school board also spent $2.2 million on weapons detection systems that are used every day at all middle and high school campuses.

The candidates also indicated the communication with families and student discipline were some of their top concerns.

To read the candidates full answers to the Advocate’s questionnaire, including candidates explaining why they are the best choice, go online to theadvocate.com/Acadiana/news/education.





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