Jan 15, 2014 11:21 PM by Steven Albritton
An education task force has formally recommended more funding for schools across the state. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's (BESE) task force approved a 2.75% increase in funding for the 2014-2015 school year. This funding is slated to be used however the districts would like.
"It appears that the stake holders in Baton Rouge are beginning to hear and understand and appreciate the concern of the local school districts, as they strive to raise standards and improve the overall quality of education that we're providing to our students in Louisiana," Louisiana School Board Association Executive Director Scott Richard said.
Tuesday, a hurdle was cleared for schools to get the increase from the state. It's money they did get last year, but for the five years before, that percentage of money was suspended and put districts at risk. St. Martin Parish Superintendent and BESE member, Dr. Lottie Beebe,voted in favor of the measure. She says for her district, that 5 years equaled a $3.5 million dollar hole in their budget.
"When those funds aren't offered to school systems, it makes it quite challenging to address the needs of our students," Dr. Beebe said.
Lafayette schools would receive around $1.5 million dollars if the money is approved. Superintendent of LPSS, Dr. Pat Cooper, says he is confident this will get done.
"The school districts are suffering. We need the dollars and getting this 2.75% through BESE is a good first step. I think the legislators are going to support it because they know that we need the dollars," Dr. Cooper said.
The five years without this adjusted increase of almost 3% is why over 40 of the states 64 parishes are suing the state. They say it's money that should have never been taken from their districts. Vermilion, Evangeline, Acadia, Jeff Davis, St. Martin, St. Landry and St. Mary Parishes have joined the suit. Lafayette and Iberia Parishes have yet to join at this point.