Jun 4, 2013 11:53 PM by Steven Albritton
Halted budget discussions have left 83 Lafayette Parish teacher positions and up to 10 assistant principal positions up in the air. To cover a budget shortfall, the Lafayette Parish School Board has discussed different ways to make up the $3,500,000 difference. Monday night, budget talks stalled, meaning LPSS will likely not have a budget to start out the fiscal year on July 1st. School board members were concerned about potential personnel cuts, mainly in teaching and assistant principal positions.
All of the cuts will come from vacant positions or retirees. No one is being fired. Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper says the school system is already overstaffed and sees this as a necessary cost cutting measure.
"Every school will be looked at. No one school is going to be hurt. I think they're all going to come down to the approved ratios without us having overcrowded classrooms," Dr. Cooper said.
Even with potentially losing 83 teaching positions next year, Lafayette Parish administrators are confident they can maintain student to teacher ratios. 23:1 for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. 25:1 for 4th grade, and 28:1 for 5th through 12th grade. Teachers will be shuffled but the math will add up with enrollment.
It's unclear which schools will gain and which will lose teachers. This scenario is nothing new for Lafayette High Principal Dr. Patrick Leonard. He says he had four positions eliminated from his school before last school year, but on further review they actually needed them. It was a long process to get people hired
"It was a mess. It really hurt math because we didn't get that math person hired until March, " Dr. Leonard said.
Leonard also says eliminating teachers could directly impact the kinds of classes offered to the student body.
"The same with some upper level electives. I may have some of the gifted kids not be able to take those electives, if I have to cut some of those teachers that teach those classes," Dr. Leonard said.