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May 6, 2014 4:11 PM by Heather Miller

State rep. drops bills targeting Lafayette Parish School System

State Rep. Nancy Landry has sidelined legislation that would have created a commission to study alternative forms of governance for the Lafayette Parish School System.

Landry, R-Lafayette, said she pulled the bills today after facing strong opposition when they went before the House Education Committee. The Lafayette Parish School Board called a special meeting last week to formally oppose her efforts, but Landry said "the majority of people out there opposing it today weren't from Lafayette."

"Because of the opposition I didn't think it would get out of committee," Landry said. "I thought I would just continue to talk with parents and educate people about alternate governance, then bring the bill back again next year. One of the goals was to get the converstaion started about alternative governance because a lot of people don't even know there are other ways for public school boards to be governed. In that regard it was a resounding success."

Any changes in governance drafted by the commission Landry proposed would have gone to voters for approval.

School Board President Hunter Beasley and Board member Greg Awbrey attended the committee meeting to oppose the bill, Landry said, as did former Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Burnell Lemoine and former Assistant Superintendent Lawrence Lilly.

She said she did not speak directly to Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper about the legislation before it was filed, but believes he supported the legislation's underlying goals.

The major opposition to the bills came from Baton Rouge teachers unions, the United Steel Workers and the AFSCME, all of which Landry described as large labor unions whose mission is "to protect adult jobs."

"My bill was to turn the focus to children," she said.

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