According to Vernon Travis, who represents District 6 on the Vernon Parish School Board, enrollment has increased in the district as indicated by early reports.

According to Vernon Travis, who represents District 6 on the Vernon Parish School Board, enrollment has increased in the district as indicated by early reports.

“The official count isn’t until Oct. 1, but our early student count shows that we are up by about 100 students,” Travis said as he gave his reports to the board on Thursday from the Salary & Personnel and Finance committees. “We must continue to monitor this count so we can maintain a balanced budget.”

Last year’s enrollment of 8,588 students district-wide has increased by 102 students to 8,690. In recent years, Vernon Parish enrollment had been declining, which not only reduced federal funding, but also forced the parish to scale back on some teaching positions.

While giving his report from the Financial Committee, Travis also indicated that a glitch in the computer system played a huge factor in some employees not receiving their paychecks at the end of the month as normal.

“There was a slight payroll glitch, but we think it is fixed now,” Travis said. “Everybody got their checks and we don’t think this will be an issue again.”

Travis also noted, during his report from the Salary & Personnel Committee, that two teaching slots needed to be filled, one at South Polk Elementary for a third-grade teacher and one at the LA-4 facility. He also recommended to the board the approval of a contract for the Anacoco High School principal’s position, which will be voted on at Tuesday’s 5 p.m. meeting.

Vernon Parish Superintendent James Williams was also proud to report that he and his staff have been visiting each school in Vernon Parish over the first couple of weeks, working with individual principals on goals for their respective schools.

“We’ve been meeting with principals about SLTs (student learning targets) and action plans in regards to student testing,” Williams said. “This is all in our effort to increase our district’s SPS (school performance score). Each one of our schools will have an action plan in place and we are just so proud of the good things which are happening within our district.”

Williams also attended last week’s luncheon at the West Louisiana Forestry Festival Fairgrounds, where U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy was in attendance. According to Williams, Sen. Cassidy spoke highly of the Vernon Parish school system.

“He was very complimentary of our school district,” Williams said. “He spoke highly of what we are doing.”

Col. David Athey, Fort Polk’s representative on the school board, also reported that many high-ranking officials have visited the Joint Readiness Training Center, speaking highly of the Education Initiative.

“We’ve heard a lot of high praise about our initiative from the representatives who have visited us over the past couple of weeks,” Athey said. “Their focus was mainly on our Education Initiative and the district was well spoken of.”

In other news, the board also approved the district’s Pupil Progression Plan, along with entering into an agreement with Cenergistic, who will help the school system reduce energy costs over the next five years.