Jason Lemoine

Jason Lemoine

A new president will be at the helm of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board when it holds its first meeting of the year on Jan. 20.

Jason Lemoine, who served as vice president of the School Board the past two years, succeeded Tom Nelson.

Lemoine’s appointment became official Jan. 1.

Nelson first served as president of the board in 1986 and held that post until 1994.  

Lemoine, 40, was elected to the School Board in 2018.

The board will face challenges of how to keep the remaining barge liners in Pointe Coupee Parish after five bolted for East Feliciana Parish.

The loss of the barge liners will deplete $413 million in market value from the parish, according to Pointe Coupee Parish Assessor Jimmy Laurent.

Most of the barge liners will relocate to East Feliciana Parish, which has the lowest taxes in Louisiana. St. Landry Parish is second and Pointe Coupee Parish is third.

“We need to do everything we can to keep the ones we have remaining,” Lemoine said. “Losing them jeopardizes our revenue big-time.”

The school district also could take hit if a judge rules in favor of CLECO in the parish’s dispute with the utility provider over assessed valuation for the Big Cajun II power plant.

As the dispute continues, $1.7 million of the parish revenue has been held in escrow until the appeal is completed.

“The tax voters approved in 2020 generated enough money to keep us afloat and give teachers a pay raise,” Lemoine said.

“But with the barge issue and the issue with CLECO, if things don’t get better, we could be back in the same situation we were in a few years ago.”

Lemoine said he also wants to see the board push for higher academic test scores.

“We moved up a little bit as far as the entire district, but five years ago we were one point away from being a B district, and now we’re lower,” he said.

“I want to see what we can do the next year to get us moving the right direction

“Our superintendent (Kim Canezaro) has a good plan, and I’m hoping we can put things back in the right direction,” Lemoine said.

He added he wants to follow Nelson’s approach as president.

“I want to maintain communication with my colleagues and make sure we have good meetings in which we handle all our business in a professional manner,” Lemoine said.

“Tom did a good job overseeing from very turbulent meetings over the last year, and I appreciate his professionalism in maintaining order at those meetings.”