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Dale Stelly at 30.

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Dale Stelly at 66.

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Dale Stelly (left) is the new Vermilion Parish School Board President. Dr. David Dupuis will serve as vice president.

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36 years later, Stelly is school board president again

Boy, have things changed since Dale Stelly was the president of the Vermilion Parish School Board.
In 1981, he became the second-youngest school board member ever elected in Lousiana. He was only 26 years old.
In 1985, at the young age of 30, he was named the School Board president.
What was happening that year?
•Pecan Island, Meaux, Maurice, Indian Bayou and Henry still had high schools in their communities.
•Ronald Reagan was the United States president, and interest rates for a home loan were 10.75 percent.
• The popular movie in 1985 was “Back to the Future,” and an all-star group of musicians recorded the song, “We are the World.”
• The AIDS virus was on everyone’s mind at that time.
Exactly 36 years later, Stelly is again the new school board president.
The School Board elected Stelly by a vote of 7-0 as the new president. Dr. David Dupuis is the vice president of the school board.
Things have changed since Stelly’s last term as the president.
• There are no longer high schools in Meaux, Maurice, Henry, Indian Bayou and Pecan Island.
• Interest rates for home loans are only 2.75 percent and the COVID-19 Virus is on everyone’s minds.
Stelly, who is 66 years old, said the most significant challenge he and the board are facing is educating the students through the pandemic.
“I am hoping the vaccine works and we can get past this pandemic so that things can get back to normal,” Stelly said after the meeting. “It will be a tough year because of COVID and having to spend money to repair buildings.”
The school board approved taking the figure of up to $30 million as a line credit based on the bond commission. The school board can borrow as much as $30 million to repair school buildings damaged by two hurricanes this school year.
Superintendent Tommy Byler informed the board members that it is still too early to lock down a price on how much damage to some buildings suffered this past hurricane season. Byler is still waiting on estimated repair costs from architects.
“We are shooting for a $30 million line of credit, but we do not need to borrow that much,” Byler said. “We want our line of credit to be high.”
Byler said the school board needs to borrow money now because it needs to repair the building as soon as possible.
It could take FEMA four years to pay the school board the money to repair the buildings. The school board does not have an extra $30 million lying around to pay for the repairs.
Byler said FEMA would eventually pay the school board back once the repair projects are completed. When FEMA reimburses the school board, the school board will pay back the money it borrowed with FEMA’s money, Byler explained.

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