To the publisher:
Not surprisingly, Rolfe McCollister once again is putting out myth-information about the East Baton Rouge Parish School System [Daily Report AM, Jan. 16]. The board [on Jan. 15] did not “deny” the requested renewal of the lease that Children’s Charter School has on one of our schools. It instead voted to carefully consider the needs of the school district for space, pursuant to the takeover of eight of our schools. Even Rolfe should admit that having the state take over three schools last year, but only attracting less than half of the students who had attended the schools when they were under district control, meant that our local schools are more crowded.
With eight schools now threatened with takeover, and with the state making clear that regardless of how many students actually choose to go to the state-chartered schools, they will maintain control of all facilities, even if the space is needed elsewhere, then we have no choice but to carefully estimate the enrollment the state is likely to get, and then decide how much space we will need for the neediest students. I say “neediest,” for the evidence is continuing to be clear that charter schools [with the singular exception of one of our EBR chartered schools] have far fewer special education students, especially those with moderate to severe needs.
For example, we must ensure that we have space for the students we will continue to serve, and as Mr. McCollister should be aware, although he probably remains in denial, we will have far fewer dollars on a per-student basis than the state is currently spending on all of its so-called “recovery schools.” Perhaps Mr. McCollister can explain why the state feels the need to spend over 50% more per student in the recovery school district, especially given that the average scores of schools in the recovery school district are actually far lower than the average score of the schools in EBR that the state has elected to take over.
Mr. McCollister is again driven by ideology, just as Mr. [Paul] Pastorek [state Superintendent of Education] is driven by ideology and power, and I again invite the editor and the publisher to join in an intellectual discussion, complete with data, that might enlighten them. I do realize that, like Mr. Pastorek, they are averse to data that might shake their confidence in blind ideology. Then again, perhaps an honest and open sharing of data might actually educate all of us. I invite all of your staff and readers to look at the well-substantiated data presented in a PowerPoint called the “President’s Report on Louisiana Schools” that can be found at lsba.com/pressroom/pressroom.asp.
Noel Hammatt, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member
Nailing the facts
To the editor:
I am responding to “Raising the Roof,” which appeared in the Jan. 13 issue. The gist of the article was that without permitting and inspection of roof installations, contractors install subpar roofs, which are more likely to be damaged by wind, driving up insurance claims and premiums. I agree. However, I would like to clarify some facts.
The foremost clarification is related to the implication that there are no standards governing the installation of roofs in Louisiana. Recent statewide building codes have these provisions. The issue is enforcement. Without permit office inspections, the current scenario of pervasive, poor-quality roofing will persist.
This puts insurers in an awkward position. Louisiana law requires insurers to provide discounts to property owners building or retrofitting homes to meet the new codes. Currently, an insurer cannot have confidence new roofs meet code without inspecting properties or paying someone to do so.
Second, the article mentions that there should be four nails per shingle without qualification. This is correct for many installations, but shingle manufacturers recommend six nails for high-wind locations.
Lastly, Louisiana’s building code is not a copy of Florida’s code. Both states’ codes are based on model codes. Each state has modified the model codes in their adoption. Florida’s code is sometimes stricter than Louisiana’s code in matters relevant to wind-resistant construction.
The relationships between building codes, construction quality and insurance pricing are important for our region. At stake are the post-storm resiliency of our communities and our long-term ability to thrive economically.
Samuel D. Amaroso, Principal,Engensus