State Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, announced today that the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has approved grants for the Beauregard and Vernon Parish School Systems.

The Beauregard Parish School System was approved to receive a Cecil J. Picard Early Childhood Program (LA 4) grant of $91,600 and the Vernon Parish School System will receive a $1,387,740 LA 4 grant.  

The purpose of LA4 funding is to provide high-quality early childhood educational experiences to four-year-old children who are considered to be “at risk” of achieving later academic success.  

The LA 4 program provides six hours per day of educational experiences, offered at no cost, to children whose families are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. 

The 2019-2020 LA 4 program will serve 16,221 children statewide.

An Early Childhood Lead Agency grant in the amount $16,800 was approved for Beauregard Parish schools and a Lead grant in the amount of $19,950 is earmarked for the Vernon Parish School system.  

The Department of Education coordinates the Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Network by designating, through a competitive process, a Lead Agency for each community to conduct administrative functions and coordinate essential activities. The Lead Agency also serves as the fiscal agent and must conduct administrative functions for the community network, coordinate CLASS observations, and coordinate birth-to-age five enrollment for publicly funded programs and the state funding application for the Community Network. 

Funding is provided for each lead agency at a rate of $525 for every infant, toddler, and Pre-K classroom at publicly funded sites within each community network.

Rep. Armes said, “In my tenure as state representative, I always tried to remember three things above everything else:

Outside of my family, nothing is more important that the wellbeing of my House district and my constituents.

My legislative office is a public trust – a trust you have given me and one I take very seriously.

To do everything in my power in Baton Rouge as an elected representative to improve the quality of education in Louisiana.”

“At times, the climate in the House chamber was grueling,” Armes said.  “But in order to be effective, you have to keep your eye on what is most important to the folks back home and what is in your heart.  I believe I consistently did just that. And no one is more aware of the work that our teachers and their school systems do for our families and children.”

“The legislature approved the FY 19-20 MFP formula in SCR3 that included: a $1,000 pay raise for certificated personnel, including classroom teachers; a $500 pay raise for non-certificated support personnel; and an additional $38.9 million associated with a 1.375% increase in the base per pupil amount, the first such increase since 2015. The legislature appropriated $3.8 billion for the FY 19-20 MFP formula,” Armes said. 

Outside of the MFP, the voucher program was appropriated $42M for the 2019-2020 school year; $20 million for early childhood care and education; and TOPS was fully funded at $311M.

“Overall, we increased Pre K-12 Education & Special Schools to $5.6 billion in the total FY 19-20 appropriations,” Armes said.

Armes added, “As always, should you wish to discuss education or any other issue, please contact me or Net at my office.  Our district office number is 337-238-7004.”