St. Landry

Mar 22, 2012 11:19 PM by Shawn Kline

School board adopts plan to erase $4-million deficit

St. Landry Parish schools have expected a multi-million-dollar deficit for months but nothing has been done to address it. That is, until now.

"This is the first time I've seen compromise," Ricky Julien said. "This is the first time the citizens' ideas were put on paper in black and white."

Furloughs won't be happening, that's the compromise, but for teachers like Julien, his concerns over lay-offs and insurance hikes are real.

The school board will submit a plan to a state review committee outlining a long-term and short-term plan:

Phase I eliminates health insurance premiums, cuts day-to-day subs and begins a RIF (Reduction in Force) policy.

"The thing that scares me, the ones that can afford to be cut least get cut the most," Julien said of the layoff policy.

The long-term plan includes more lay-offs, saving the district nearly $10-million.
It also toys with the option of a four-day school year starting in August.

Some board members aren't sold on it, saying the plan isn't clear.

"It's quite obvious they're voting on things where they don't know what's happening," the school board's John Miller said. "I voted no."

Miller says the short-term and long-term plans conflict involving health insurance. One, with a three-month review process and the other, without.
Neither plan is specific when it comes to lay-offs.

Julien, on the other hand, is optimistic; the plan's final note: if the school board can secure more state funds, lay-offs will be reduced.

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