St. Landry Parish Schools Superintendent Patrick Jenkins won't ask for a new contract

St. Landry Parish School Board members came prepared to discuss the possibility of extending Superintendent Patrick Jenkins's contract Thursday night, but the issue never reached that point.

Instead, Jenkins, who became superintendent in October of 2016, announced during a presentation before standing-room attendance that he is not seeking to remain in the position past June 30, when his current contract is scheduled to expire.

Jenkins said the timing of his decision provides the Board with more time to conduct a search for a new superintendent, which begins officially in two weeks with a special meeting.

Superintendent Patrick Jenkins addresses School Board members Thursday night.
Superintendent Patrick Jenkins addresses School Board members Thursday night.

Board attorney Courtney Joiner said deciding on a new superintendent is usually a lengthy process, which will involve a series of procedural meetings.

A proposal by board member Kyle Boss to open up the superintendent’s position following the presentation by Jenkins was halted after board president Joyce Haynes voted “no.”

The request from Boss would have required the unanimous approval of the Board, since it involved altering the original meeting agenda.

Afterward Haynes’ vote, Boss apparently directed a derogatory remark towards Haynes, which was also heard by Haynes and some who were attending the meeting.

Haynes repeated the remark made by Boss and told the other board members and those attending the meeting that she did not appreciate being called that name.

One spectator who did not identify herself said the remark was improper and unprofessional, especially since there were students who were attending the meeting.

Boss said that it was necessary to have a new superintendent in place before the end of June. The budgetary year for the District begins July 1.

Later during the meeting, board member Milton Ambres said the Board might not always agree on all issues, but Ambres added that it was necessary for them to get along.

“If we don’t get along, then how do we expect these students to get along? We need to respect one another. We don’t always think alike, but we still need to work together,” said Ambres.

Under the terms of his current contract, the Board was required to give Jenkins at least 90 days before making a decision to provide him with another extension or tell him they did not want to pursue the matter.

Jenkins acknowledged a week ago following the conclusion of several committee meetings that he was in the early and informal stages of discussing his contract with board members.

A final agenda item for the Thursday night meeting indicated that the Board might “discuss and take action” related to the superintendent’s employment contract. The item was later removed from the agenda with the consent of board members.

During a post-meeting interview, Jenkins, who was chosen Superintendent of The Year in December by the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said he has no current plans for future employment.

However, Jenkins noted that his next job will probably involve him in some aspect of education.

Jenkins admitted that his administrative staff members knew nothing about his decision until he revealed it to them during remarks made during a meeting segment which allows him to make personal comments.

“No one except my wife and Tricia (Fontenot) knew anything. (Fontenot) had to know because she was in charge of a press release that everyone has probably received by now,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins listed a long series of his accomplishments as superintendent prior to making the announcement.

Among those at the top of the list Jenkins said, includes providing financial stability to a District that had been operating on the brink of bankruptcy beginning in 2011, improving the graduation rates for high school seniors, establishing a program for students to receive associate college degrees while they attend high school and advanced placement classes.

Jenkins added that whoever is named superintendent faces the issue of upgrading campus facilities.

Since 2018 voters have twice refused to approve referendums that would improve all facilities and increase revenues for employees’ salaries.

This article originally appeared on Opelousas Daily World: St. Landry Superintendent Patrick Jenkins won't seek new contract