WHAT I FIGHT FOR
I am a fierce advocate for democratically controlled public education. Education is an equalizer that allows individuals to rise up from poverty if given the opportunity. For this reason, I am also against the privatization of public education. Our children do not win when the driving force is profiteering on the backs of our students.
As a current School Board Member, I have produced real results for our children and consistently fought for us even when it’s hard.
When applications for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program for businesses have been beneficial to our community, I voted YES.
When applications for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program proved not to be an incentive for growth, I voted NO.
When new charter schools would deplete our budget and take resources from students who are already under-resourced and struggling, I voted NO.
When teachers and staff needed a fairer salary schedule and a pay increase, I led the charge and voted YES.
When it was time for our school system to choose the next superintendent, I fully supported Adam Smith and voted to advance him for a final interview. He is one of our own. So, he is personally vested in the success of our children and community. He is also exceptionally qualified with a proven record of moving schools forward in this district. He did not receive enough support to advance as a finalist at that time. When the opportunity arose again for Adam to be chosen as our superintend, I again fully supported Adam Smith, along with a vast majority of our community because we know him and he’s built trust over the years. Despite this, he was not chose by the board.
When schools in my district had no specialized programming and very limited resources,
I fought for us and we won:
- $15 million grant for challenged schools to implement Creative Sciences and Arts magnet programming, and those resources are leveraged to benefit ALL students on the campuses of Villa Del Rey Elementary, Park Forest Elementary, Park Forest Middle, and Belaire High School.
- La Belle Aire Elementary is phasing in Dual Language programming and has already started in kindergarten and first grade.
- All flooded schools have been renovated with Greenbrier Elementary and Belaire Magnet High School receiving additional major facility improvements.
Key areas of academic gains for struggling schools include:
- Five District 4 schools improved by a letter grade or more: Arlington Preparatory Academy, Belaire High, Greenbrier Elementary, Northdale Superintendent’s Academy, and Park Forest Elementary
- Seven District 4 schools grew academically according to school performance scores: Arlington Preparatory Academy, Belaire High, EBR Virtual Academy, Greenbrier Elementary, LaBelle Aire Elementary, Northdale Superintendent Academy, Park Forest Elementary, Park Forest Middle, and Villa del Rey Elementary.
- All ten District 4 schools received a C or higher in their Progress scores.
- Greenbrier Elementary School was a Louisiana Department of Education Top Gains Honoree.
My work for us extends beyond these tangible outcomes in our schools. I have also accomplished the following:
I took the courageous, principled vote to deny additional ITEP tax breaks to Exxon at the expense of our school system & the rest of the world took notice.
I have voted to approve tax exemptions through the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) when it was right for our families and voted against it when it was wrong. Exxon and several small businesses have received my support of tax exemptions when doing so genuinely gave those businesses an incentive to invest in our communities. When those requests did not prove to be an incentive and would only contribute towards a deficit in revenues, I took a tough vote to deny those tax breaks.
Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome credits me with "putting the fire under" the Parish to bring EBAY to EBR.
I played an integral role in bringing EBAY to Baton Rouge in 2019. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is now the sixth city globally to join eBay’s Retail Revival program which also brought 40 full-time customer-service jobs to eBay@Home.