Dec 20, 2011 12:48 PM by Lauren Wilson
In response to St. Landry Parish School Board's financial woes, a new, independent group is proposing their own alternatives to the system's plan for budget cuts.
The St. Landry United Coalition of Educators consists of five public school employee organizations including the St. Landry Association of Educators (SLAE), the St. Landry School Bus Drivers Association, the J.K. Haynes Foundation, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (APEL) and the St. Landry Federation of Teachers & School Employees (SLFT). These groups have come together for the same united goal and their concern about student programs such as summer school for deficient students and vocational programs being elimated. Rather than cutting these services, the coalition members are proposing that the school board consider transitioning to a four day work week.
"A four day work week stands to ultimately extend the education of the children of St. Landry Parish," said Coalition Spokesman and Sunset Middle School Teacher Ricky Julien. "By moving to this new schedule, the school system would save on all costs associated with running the parish's schools for one day. School days would start earlier and end later so children would not lose valuable school-time hours, and a major perk for teachers and parents would be the opportunity for them to take care of essential errands or appointments on the 'off day.' We feel like this is a fair alternative for everyone."
Although the coalition has met with Interim Superintendent Donny Perron, this is their first major meeting with school board members. If board members are unresponsive to what is presented today, the coalition plans to begin looking into board recall elections.
The Coalition plans to present their proposal to the St. Landry Parish School Board today at the special meeting beginning at 3 PM. The meeting will be held at the St. Landry Parish School Board Office, located at 1013 East Creswell Lane in Opelousas.