Board wants cuts, delays approval of Lafayette Schools budget; will meet Monday

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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — After delaying approval this week, the Lafayette Parish School Board will try to adopt the district's 2014-2015 budget on Monday — the day it is due to the state Education Department.

The next budget meeting is at 4 p.m. Monday.

School systems are required to turn in their budgets to the Louisiana Department of Education on Sept. 15.

On Thursday, the board delayed approving the proposed budget. The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/ZjII4Q ) they voted to direct the district's staff to incorporate several board-suggested cuts into the document.

The latest budget proposal from the school system administration would keep many teachers, counselors, assistant principals and other personnel that the board has suggested eliminating. The board has suggested other cuts as well, including travel and conference expenses.

Superintendent Pat Cooper and his staff have included several millions of dollars in tax revenues that were collected in the spring and summer. Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry said the proposed budget will be balanced and still leave three months' worth of expenses in a reserve account, as required by board policy.

Cooper expressed concerns about board members' suggested cuts.

"I want to make it very clear that I am perfectly willing to consider and implement the board suggestions for altering the budget, as long as it is done within the context of the law," Cooper said. He added that he doesn't think many of the board proposals would follow the law.

"I think the board was very prudent when they went through that budget, line item by line item," said retired teacher Pat Sonnier. "That's a very difficult thing. You shouldn't have had to do it. It should have been done for you. ... Until we see more money coming into the system, we need to be careful on how much we spend."


Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com

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