How will you use your position to improve public education for children in our district?

Jon Liprie
Jon Liprie
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

All children deserve a quality education, and this should be the priority of any state or local school board official. It is certainly my priority as a parent. Our state is ranked 48th in education, and Lafayette Parish has many underperforming schools. Quality public education and affordable housing are essential in recruiting and maintaining a skilled workforce. How are you going to do this in a state where about 1/3 do not graduate high school? I am not sure I have a direct answer to that question, but I am eager to help improve this situation.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Jeremy Hidalgo
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

I've spent the last 4.5 years as a school board member, working hard to make tough decisions that have improved our public education system in Lafayette Parish. This duty belongs in the hands of our elected school board representatives, not the Parish Council. However, as a parish councilman, I will indirectly be involved in decisions regarding public education in my district. With two children in public school and a wife who is a teacher in Lafayette Parish, I will continue to be an involved parent and husband. As a current school board member, I recognize the value of input from the community, so as a parish councilman I plan to give my input as needed.

Josh Carlson
Josh Carlson
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

As a member of the parish council, I will work with our members of the School Board to improve education and make sure we have excellent education for all kids.

Mike Davis
Mike Davis
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

While the Lafayette City and Parish Councils will not have direct authority over school regarding education and zoning, I believe that it would be my duty as a member of the Parish Council to improve our Parish’s educational opportunities. Our school quality and the level of success our children achieve affects all business and residents in our community, and this is a civic issue that I will actively pursue for excellence. Improving public education for our children starts with recruitment and retainement of quality teachers. Methods for accomplishing such a task could involve providing teachers with no-interest loans ranging from $20,000 - $30,000 to assist them in purchasing their first homes and should prove an effective method in helping school districts recruit teachers and enable them to become full members of their community where they teach, and this is something I would work personally with local financial institutions to make a reality. I would push for investments in preschool programs operated by the school districts, as quality childcare and early literacy are one of the most effective methods to improve academic success in school children by preparing them to learn before they even enter the school system, and I would further our utilization of Public Libraries to train child-care providers about reading development and the importance of early literacy, which would help to achieve this initiative. This next point should go without saying but keeping our schools safe is paramount, as are initiatives to reduce violence and mitigate potential risks via planning and preparation. I would accomplish this by partnering with our police and fire departments to drastically increase our schools' effectiveness at mitigating and managing violent or catastrophic events. For schools that maybe have had their share of problems but are making improvements, it’s important to recognize these improvements and encourage these schools to continue with their improvement initiatives, and this is what I plan to bring to our city in spades. Far too often a school's problems are highlighted while their accomplishments do not receive recognition, which can lower teacher moral. So by celebrating these schools that are making improvements helps to provide highly appreciated moral boosts for teachers, students, and families who are committed to becoming high-performing schools. Another very important aspect is encouraging parents to be active in their children’s education, as academic success in school children has been proven to be directly related to parental involvement, and I will actively seek out methods Lafayette can employ to encourage parents to get more involved in their children’s lives. I would strive to open and build strong relationships with our school district leaders help to create communication channels between city leaders and our school district leaders where ideas, insights, and innovations can be shared that help our children learn. Another, albeit more overlooked, method for improving public education for our children is for the city to support efforts to improve school facilities, and it is very easy to judge a community’s commitment to education by looking at the quality of its schools and school buildings. As a member of the Parish Council, I would champion school bond campaigns when investments in our facilities are needed due to things like leaking roofs, cracked walls, and air conditioners. As Parish Council Member for District 3, I would use my influence with civic leaders, my fellow elected officials, businesses, community organizers, and the media to ensure that education stays at the top of the public agenda to celebrate success and achieve results that benefit not only our students but our community as a whole.