Jul 15, 2014 8:23 PM by Tina Macias

LPSB finalizes staffing cuts for new school year

The Lafayette Parish School Board finalized staffing for the school year set to begin next month during a budget meeting tonight, and is set to vote on a reduction-in-force policy during a budget meeting Thursday.

The reduction-in-force policy will dictate which employees will be laid off in the case that retirements and resignations do not cover all eliminated positions.

The board took several key votes at the meeting and approved all board-recommended cuts to department-level budgets. That mostly cut contractual services, materials, supplies and travel.

Finance staff was unsure of the total savings. The budget shortfall is at $7.24 million before those cuts.

The board also:
-Authorized administrators to staff based on passed school board votes, reinforcing their decision to cut more than 100 positions last week. That included over staffed teachers, assistant principals and counselors.
-Decreased the student-teacher ratio at J.W. Faulk Elementary School to 17:1, at a cost of about $500,000. The change will add seven teachers to Faulk, the only "F" school in the parish.
-Rejected proposals to cut 17 social workers and all instructional strategists.
-Cut all mileage and cell phone reimbursements for a savings of about $600,000, but several of those cuts had already been made.

Faulk will now have a lower student-teacher ratio than any other school in the parish, but the change fell short of the 15:1 student-teacher ratio proposed by Superintendent Pat Cooper.

He said the ratio would put the school system in line with a consent order issued at the close of the school system's federal desegregation case in 2006.

The student-teacher ratio will remain the same at all other schools, 23:1 for kindergarten to third grade, 25:1 for fourth grade and 28:1 for fifth grade to 12th grade.

The board will hold its next budget meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. It will meet again on July 24 to take up appeals to department-level budget cuts.



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