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FIXIT: Helpful numbers for assistance

hen searching for phone numbers to help find answers to problems, the Shreveport Police Department has a wealth of information on its website http://www .shreveportla.gov/dept/police/. Aside from 911, which must be used only during emergencies, there is a non-emergency line for residents to call to report criminal activity. That number is 673-7300. Want to do your part and turn in a suspect in a crime? Theres a contact for that, too. Try Crime Stoppers at 673-7373. Residents also can report illegal narcotics in Shreveport or Caddo Parish by sending an email to drugstoppers@ shreveportla.gov. Here are some other helpful numbers if you need help reporting traffic congestion, neighbors who have several inoperable cars cluttering yards, suspicious activities or crimes, or even a police officer who may not be following the law or proper procedure.

The Times helps you get things done. Email vhunter@shreveporttimes.com

CODE VIOLATIONS: Call Code Enforcement at 673-6200 for concerns regarding enforcement of violations of statutes or ordinances regulating public health, safety and welfare, and public works. CRIME/SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY: Call general information at 673-BLUE for non-emergency calls, including criminal activity, safety issues, suspicious activity and questions. TRAFFIC PROBLEMS: Call the Traffic Bureau at 673-7255 for concerns regarding violations of traffic laws and motor vehicle safety. COMPLAINTS ON OFFICERS: Call the Internal Affairs Bureau at 673-6920 if there is a complaint or problem with the manner which calls for police service are handled.

Sunday 07/10/11 3A

From Staff Reports

DATACENTER: SEE WHO OWES CHILD SUPPORT IN LOUISIANA, shreveporttimes.com


Catching Up updates readers in Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto and Webster parishes on previous stories reported in The Times. Email ideas for this column to vhunter@ shreveporttimes.com.

Shreveporter Charles B. Cooksey was featured in a previous edition of The Times as owing $153,000 in back child support for his son who is now 31 years old, according to court records. The 66-year-old is listed among those statewide who contribute to an estimated $619 million in delinquent child support owed in Louisiana. The total amount derives from more than 53,000 cases. Court records show that Cooksey took flight from a $350-a-month child support obligation more than 28 years ago, and now his arrears put him at No. 2 on Caddo Parishs list of so-called worst deadbeat parents. UPDATE: Cooksey has since disputed the accusations and says hes working with an attorney to clear up the matter and his name. However, he was booked into Caddo Correctional Center on June 30 for one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and being a fugitive from the screening division of Caddo District Attorneys Office for the child support matter, according to Caddo sheriffs office. Cooksey is being held in CCC without a bond and is set to go before a Caddo judge soon.

Man who owed child support jailed

Board president: Spending amount can be justied


By Icess Fernandez

BY THE NUMBERS
Since January, the Caddo Parish School Board has spent more than $34,000 in trips to conventions and conferences. School board member have to earn continuing education hours as per state law. Veteran members need six hours and new members need 16 hours during their first year to receive a Distinguished School Board Member designation. Among some of the locations traveled by board members are San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Baton Rouge. Board members are planning a trip for Ashville, N.C. next week and Pineville next month. The Board spent the most money on registration fees and hotel stays. Expenses for the trips come from the districts general fund.

After Caddo Parish School Board eliminated 313 positions as part of its 2011-2012 budget process, Caddo Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel filed suit June 21 claiming the board had violated state law in how it chose which positions would be placed on the chopping block. State law requires boards to create and follow a reduction in force policy that takes into account certification and education, if applicable, seniority in the system and tenure of employees. Federation President Jackie Lansdale said the board broke the law when it chose to lay off personnel based on seniority within position rather than seniority in the system. Board attorney Reggie Abrams said he believes the boards policy and action were in line with state regulations. UPDATE: A request made June 27 for a motion of judgement by the school board has been denied by Judge Scott Crichton. A case hearing has been set for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 10 in the Caddo Parish Courthouse and has been assigned to Judge Leon Emanuel.

Court date set for union hearing

From Staff Reports

The Caddo Parish School Board has spent more than $34,000 on travel to and from conferences so far this year in an effort to fulfill a state-mandated continuing education requirement, according to records obtained by The Times. Among the more costly trips was a visit to San Francisco in April to attend the National Association of School Boards conference. The trip has produced some ideas in governance and budgetary leadership, said Lillian Priest, board president. Thats a way for school boards to network and bring back ideas, she said. The Times gained access to the records through an open records request that asked for board travel expenses since Jan. 1. Although board members say the price tag is justified, some say that during a time of financial strain the board should be more selective with its travel expenses. Since January, board members have traveled to Marksville, Baton Rouge, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Registration has been paid for six board members for a trip next week to Ashville, N.C., for a regional conference. The trip to San Francisco cost more than $17,000 for seven board members to attend. However, depending on the board member, the stays in the Bay-area city varied, according to documents. The price tag included registration fees, flights and hotel stay. There were also additional fees, including costs for attending luncheons and organizational gatherings, not included in the registration fee. The money was worth it, Priest said, because ideas for dealing with Caddos budget crunch, which was happening

ifernandez@shreveporttimes.com

Grand total $34,789.97


$2,566.50
Flights

Registration fees

$15,030

$10,639
Hotel

$2,562.24
Baggage fees

$110

$1,651.33
Meals

Mileage

$425.60
(meals/baggage)

$1,805.30
Other

Tips

Source: Times research and Caddo Parish Public Schools

The Times

at the time, came from the conference. Priest said the ideas brought back were: Implement a spending moratorium. Renegotiate vender contracts. Look to see if the district has over allocated staff positions. Priest said Caddo did have some. Look at programs, organizations and compensation for places to trim. However, there havent been policies brought forth by board members because those ideas have been given to district staff members to implement. School boards do not implement programs, staff brings them to us for approval, she said. Board member Curtis Hooks, who also attended the San Francisco conference, said he gained more than knowledge from the trip, he gained perspective. He rented a car and drove more than 30 hours to

the conference. He said he attended 12.5 sessions. Sometimes you have to learn to stand by yourself, he said. It (the convention) made me a stronger person. Before going to San Francisco, I wondered whether I was doing the right thing. One of the sessions brought (that) out for me. In retrospect, he wishes fewer people attended the conference, Hooks said. As a result, he decided not to attend next weeks trip to Ashville. After laying off 300 people, I couldnt find it in my heart to go, he said. School board members are required to have a certain number of continuing education hours as per state law. The hours have to be completed face-to-face and cant be done online, Priest said. According to the law, board members need to complete six hours. Part of the hours have to include workshops in certain topics such as education-

al policy issues, leadership development and school discipline. In addition, boards with schools on the academically unacceptable list must have two hours worth of workshops dealing with school improvement. Priest said she had 12.5 hours so far. There isnt a stipulation in the law about what happens if a school board member does not fulfill the annual requirement. As part of the boards policy, members can be reimbursed for: hotel room, cost of meals plus 15 percent in tips, registration costs, transportation including a 15 percent tip and mileage. They also can take out advances if needed. Trips are booked months in advance and the board president signs off on who attends which meetings or conventions. The president also signs off on reimbursements. SEE CADDO, Page 4

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CATCHINGUP

Caddo board spent $34K on travel