LPSB Names EFID Members

Livingston Parish School Board Names EFID Members
Posted on 10/09/2022
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Livingston Parish School Board Names EFID Members

Nine Community Members Selected to Assist School Systemin Finding Best Way to Fund Salary Needs


            LIVINGSTON, La. – The Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday (Oct. 6) named nine community members to serve on a newly created Educational Facilities Improvement District (EFID) that will review local funding options for improving salaries of all Livingston Parish School System employees.

                The school board voted to create the EFID at its Sept. 15 meeting, and the members tasked each other with naming appointees to the district. The board’s nine members named the following appointees:

  • John Blount, graduate of Walker schools, president and manager of Blount General Contractors and John Blount Builders, LLC, and past president and current board member of the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce. His companies offer pre-construction services, construction management and project construction services. (Appointed by Jeff Cox)
  • Thomas “Bruiser” Bryson, a resident of Springfield and retired SFC U.S. Army.(Appointed by Norman Picou)
  • Lawson Covington, a resident of Denham Springs and manager of the brokerage Covington and Associates Real Estate, LLC, in Denham Springs. His firm deals in residential, new construction, commercial real estate and vacant land sales in an eight-parish area. (Appointed by Cecil Harris)
  • Coty Hardy, a resident of Albany and project manager for Providence Engineering who specializes in jobs requiring structural concrete, asphalt paving, embankment and base course, drainage, and concrete paving. (Appointed by Dr. Devin Gregoire)
  • Kayla Lockhart Johnson, a resident of Denham Springs and a leading Livingston Parish realtor who specializes in new residential development and home construction sales. She serves on numerous industry boards and associations. (Appointed by Jan Benton)
  • Scott Jones, resident of Walker and owner and operator of Jones Signs and DigiClem Outdoor Media. He also served as a member of the 2014 Livingston Parish Home Rule Charter Commission that proposed revisions to the parish’s original charter. (Appointed by Kellee Hennessy Dickerson)
  • Tab Lobell, a resident of Springfield, a former Livingston Parish Councilman and manager of Lobell’s Waterfront Construction. He has served as a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office reserve officer and community youth organization coach. (Appointed by Bo Graham)
  • Brian McCaskill, a resident of the Town of Livingston and regional sales manager with RelaDyne, LLC, which specializes in automotive, commercial, and industrial industries. (Appointed by Brad Sharp)
  • Randy Smith, a resident of Denham Springs since 1960 and registered tax return preparer recognized by the IRS. He is president of Smith Accounting and a business owner for 36 years in Denham Springs. He serves as the auditing accountant for several governmental entities in the parish, and he specializes in examining financial reports to ensure records are accurate and timely filed. (Appointed by Brad Harris)

The newly appointed EFID directors are scheduled to hold their inaugural meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m. in the Livingston School Board Office chambers.

According to the legislative statute that allows for the creation of local EFIDs, a minimum of five members must serve and the appointed members shall serve six-year terms.

                The Louisiana Legislature enacted legislation in 2011 allowing all school districts to create EFIDs for the purpose of addressing local funding shortages for their essential needs. Livingston Parish Schools created the local EFID to address low salaries throughout all positions in the system.  Low salaries throughout the system are hampering district leaders’ efforts to retain and hire qualified employees.

According to a May 2022 State Auditor’s Report, Livingston Parish Public Schools rank last in the Greater Baton Rouge Metropolitan Region for the average teacher pay as compared to Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes, as well as the Zachary and Central community school districts. The same is true for other district staffing positions, such as custodians, food service workers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and administrative staff.

At the same time, Livingston Parish taxpayers pay the lowest ad valorem taxes per student when compared to the same neighboring parishes.  Livingston Parish taxpayers pay only $722 per student, whereas the next lowest-ranking district receives $2,021 per student.  The district in the region receiving the most ad valorem taxes per student is Iberville Parish with $9,712 per student.

“We really are at a pivotal point in the history of our district in determining which way our future will go,” Harris said.  “We must find a way as a community to invest in our people if we are going to be able to bring in and keep the best available educators and support staff in our area. The shortages are such, that we are now competing head-to-head with other districts to survive.”

“Our school system is fortunate to have business and community leaders step up to serve on this EFID and to assist us with finding the best path forward,” Harris said.