Mar 20, 2012 11:07 PM by Shawn Kline
Board members in St. Landry Parish say they're ready to tackle the big decision: how to cut $4-million from the budget, all with a new acting superintendent.
Teachers, parents and board members were pleased to see long-time educator and Assistant Superintendent Joseph Cassimere appointed as Superintendent, at least for the time being until the board advertises the position and selects a full-time educator.
The move makes him the first African-American to hold the position in St. Landry Parish.
"He's going to do a good job for us," Charles Ross said.
Facing an enormous budget deficit, Board Member Charles Ross says it's going to be an uphill battle but he and the board are backing Cassimere's plan.
"We are studying all the positions that we have in this school district," Cassimere said. "Perhaps there will be some layoffs."
Now that the board has answered the question, who's going to be the new superintendent? They have another problem to solve and it has to do with this $4-million over budget.
The superintendent hopes to bring that number down to $0 over budget by reducing the largest expense: salaries.
"We have to look at retirement, how many people are going to be leaving." Cassimere says, "how many people are moving on to other systems, et cetera. All this we have to factor in before making a decision."
Cassimere suggested a lay-off policy detailing the order the board should follow if lay-offs do become necessary. Ross says that could be sooner than later, the board's cash reserves could run dry as early as this summer.
"We've got the issues before us," Ross said. "We're going to continue to run a deficit if we don't do something about it."
As it stands, the plan for lay-offs in St. Landry Parish is as follows:
All non-tenured retirees will be laid-off before any other employee. After that, the board will move to non-certified teachers, then teachers with the lowest seniority but this is only a plan. At this time, no employees are on the chopping block.