Lafayette Parish School System to eliminate dozens of positions in move to cut budget

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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — The Lafayette Parish School System will eliminate dozens of positions this month after the board approved budget changes Monday night.

The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1s4xWwP ) the eliminations include slots for 11 assistant principals, one counselor, 14 teachers, two special education para-educators, 2.5 teachers at N.P. Moss Preparatory School and four deans of students.

Earlier in Monday's meeting, the board rejected a proposal that would have restored all but 5.5 positions, including slots for a counselor, two special education para-educators and 2.5 teachers at the N.P. Moss Preparatory School.

The board is still discussing this year's budget after months of meetings to try to make up a $20.4 million deficit. Former Superintendent Pat Cooper refused to implement the board-approved budget, which included several personnel and program cuts, alleging that the budget was illegal.

Interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune had pushed to restore as many positions as possible, saying that cutting employees would result in major mid-year instability for students, teachers and families.

"We know that, through data, that it is not beneficial to a student to have a different teacher, especially at this time of the year," LeJeune said. "I would just like to maintain the staffing through the end of the school year. I'm just trying to look at the situation, can we complete the school year to provide these services."

Several board members emphasized that they wanted to keep as many educators in schools as possible, but felt the need to balance that with the district's long-term budget situation. Board member Tehmi Chassion said he thinks the system will start the 2015-16 fiscal year with at least a $15 million deficit because of expanding charter schools and state spending requirements.


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

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