- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - More parents are needed to fill out seats on a new Lafayette Parish school advisory group.

Heather Blanchard, a founding member of Parents Empowered, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1gixNQq ) the goal is to have one parent from each of the district’s more than 40 schools represented in the group to meet with the superintendent on issues facing the district.

Superintendent Pat Cooper enlisted the help of Blanchard’s group to help find interested parents to serve on the advisory group.

“So far, we have 23 and have some spots open,” she said. “We’ll get there.”

Parents Empowered recently wrapped up a series of “Cafeteria Conversations,” town-hall style meetings with Cooper and district supervisors on issues such as the budget, facilities and Common Core State Standards.

The series provided an opportunity for parents and the community to speak directly with Cooper and learn more about district programs.

Later this summer, excerpts from the meetings will be made available online through the support of LUS Fiber, which taped the sessions, Blanchard said.

At least eight parents signed up for the parents advisory group at the Cafeteria Conversations, Blanchard said.

Parents interested in participating in the advisory panel can contact Blanchard at parentsempowerednow@gmail.com. The group also has a Facebook page where parents can find more information.

Blanchard said the group hopes to have the advisory group in place by summer to start meetings with Cooper to prepare for the new school year.

Recently, Cooper withdrew proposed teacher contract and sick policy changes from the school board’s May 7 meeting agenda, citing the desire to discuss them with several advisory groups, including the new parents advisory panel.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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