Aug 2, 2012 11:55 PM by Maddie Garrett
An update to a story from Wednesday night on Lafayette School Board member Rae Trahan. Trahan fired back at Lafayette paper "The Independent" at Wednesday night's board meeting after she was the cover story, titled "Absent-Minded." The article accused Trahan of in-action and in-difference when it comes to school board matters and a lot of the controversy centers around absence reports.
According to records, Trahan has missed 17 meetings so far this year, with Tommy Angelle close behind at 15 absences. Those figures include special meetings, workshops, committee meetings and regular board meetings.
Here's how it breaks down for all school board members from January 1, 2012 to July 18, 2012:
Rae Trahan: 17 Total Absences - 3 regular meetings, 5 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 3 special meetings, 6 workshops, 0 public hearings.
Tommy Angelle: 15 Total Absences - 1 regular meeting, 5 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 2 special meetings, 6 workshops, 1 public meeting.
Greg Awbrey: 10 Total Absences - 3 regular meetings, 3 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 2 special meetings, 1 workshop, 1 public meeting.
Tehmi Chassion: 8 Total Absences - 0 regular meetings, 3 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 2 special meetings, 3 workshops, 0 public hearings.
Hunter Beasley: 3 Total Absences - 1 regular meeting, 0 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 0 special meetings, 1 workshop, 1 public hearing.
Mark Babineaux: 3 Total Absences - 0 regular meetings, 2 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 0 special meetings, 1 workshop, 0 public hearings.
Mark Cockerham: 2 Total Absences - 0 regular meetings, 0 committee meetings (expulsion hearings), 0 special meetings, 1 workshop, 1 public hearing.
Kermit Bouillion and Shelton Cobb have zero absences.
Trahan took several minutes Wednesday night to explain, saying she is a "one girl operation" in reference to her business she runs in Youngsville. Trahan said she can't make all of the extra meetings because they're during business hours.
"I have asked quite a few times, and on the board floor, that we schedule workshops and other meetings after business hours so that I can attend. Apparently the other board members are not interested in doing that, does not help in my attendance," said Trahan.
Board members are paid $800 a month, with board president receiving $900 a month, and are allowed to miss five meetings total. If they miss more than that they forfeit $100 a meeting. There are exceptions like conventions, work or hospitilization. If they miss more than five meetings, they must provide a written a excuse to the board president, who determines whether the absence is excused.
The controversy also highlighted the relationship between the City of Youngsville and its school board representative, Trahan.
In July, Mayor Wilson Viator asked the board for relief at Green T Lindon Elementary and Youngsville Middle schools, because both are extremely overcrowded. Renovations would cost around $8 million, paid for out of a $33 million bond measure which includes renovations at three other schools in the parish in addition to the Youngsville schools.
The school board passed the bond measure at the July meeting, but Trahan voted against it. She said that was because there was not a plan provided on how the money would be spent.
"You say, yeah Youngsville will get this, Youngsville will get that and the rest we'll do what we want with. That's -- I can't as a board member say that's good government," said Trahan.
Mayor Viator had said after the meeting that he was not sure why Trahan voted against the bond measure, but the council said they need to compromise to help the schools.
"There's no mistake that we're all aware that the schools are over crowded, she raised some probably valid questions and ultimately it passed," said council member Ken Ritter.
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