Apr 16, 2012 7:55 PM by Maddie Garrett
A $3.9 million deficit still looms over the St. Landry Parish School Board. In order to fill that gap administrators are putting together a Reduction In Force (RIF) plan. Interim Superintendent Joseph Cassmere will present the RIF plan to the school board Tuesday afternoon.
Increased tax revenue and $800,000 from racino funds has helped to offset the budget deficit, but a RIF will still have to make up the bulk of budget cuts.
St Landry Parish Schools have seen teacher cuts before and they're hoping this round of lay offs won't be too drastic.
"People are very tense and nervous and worried about what's going to happen to them, are they going to be able to have their jobs, are they going to be able to feed their families," said Kelly Andrepont with the St. Landry United Coalition of Educators.
Andrepont said filling the budget gap has been stressful for teachers because they don't know what's coming next. But it's also been difficult for some School Board members.
"It is a little bit heart breaking to know that someone will lose a livelihood," said St. Landry Parish School Board Member Anthony Standberry.
One major concern is the impact a reduction in force will have on students and schools.
"Our score as a system is already a D, which we need to focus on improving. And the only way we're going to be able to do that is to give the students the attention and the instruction that they need and that cannot happen if we take their teachers away from them," said Andrepont.
The board will first factor in retirees and resignations. Not filling those positions will hopefully save them a good chunk of change.
"Authority is going to be delegated out to different people at the school board office. These are some of our higher paid jobs," explained Standberry.
Next, the plan is to look at cutting jobs in the central office before laying off any teachers. Andrepont said she and other educators appreciate that layoffs will not start at the school level first.
The RIF meeting is set to take place at the St. Landry Parish School Board office Tuesday at 4:00 pm.