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Herald-Guide Election Roundup: St. Charles goes as Louisiana goes
School board members chosen, constitutional amendments pass, in Sept. 30 vote
By Allen Lottinger -   Oct 05, 2006

Almost 7,000 residents of St. Charles Parish voted in Saturday’s election that selected five local school board members and the state's insurance commissioner in addition to putting 13 amendments into the state constitution.

Jim Donelon was the clear winner for insurance commissioner in St. Charles and statewide, but a runoff is scheduled between Jay Dardene and Francis Heitmeier for secretary of state.

Winners of school board seats were Ellis Alexander in District 1, Mary Bergeron in District 2, Dennis Naquin in District 3, Steve Crovetto in District 7 and Al Sufrin in District 8.

The parish went like the state in favoring all 13 of the constitutional amendments on the ballot. Amendments 1, 2 and 3 - which pledged revenues for coastal restoration and consolidated the number of levee boards in the New Orleans area to two - won overwhelmingly statewide.

Amendments 1, ,2 and 3 received more than 89 percent of the vote in St. Charles. Other amendments carried the parish by 56 to 87 percent.

Runoff for secretary of state will be Nov. 7 when election the will be held for U. S. Congressmen and several proposed state constitutional amendments.

In a recent interview, the school boards winners had this to say:

Alexander said the first thing he will do as a board member is to talk with employees from all segments of the school system - teachers, students, administrators, bus drivers and others - to find out what problems exist so the school board can address and correct them.

"I want to be very fiscally responsive and scrutinize all expenses," he told the Herald-Guide. "I will also identify new ways of improving education."

Bergeron said during the coming four years she will seek "continued improvement in all academic areas using the best methods practiced throughout the country, as well as determining what has and has not given us results (in the past)."

She hopes to update older facilities in the school system and begin the improvements to physical education and athletic facilities.

Crovetto wants the school board to continue doing what it has been doing and seek continuous improvement. "I want to give students the tools to excel and meet all state and federal mandates. I want to evaluate programs in place to determine which ones can be eliminated and which ones should be expanded and improved. Of course, we have to keep a good hold on the budget and keep it in line with anticipated growth."

Suffrin said the new board will be challenged with the responsibility of maintaining St. Charles Parish’s position as a top-notch provider of public school education.

"We must ensure that our schools maintain a competitive edge," he told the Herald-Guide. “St. Charles Parish is well known for its innovative public school programs. I would like to see us emphasize and be a leader in financial literacy for students as well."

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