St. Landry

Jan 18, 2012 10:54 PM by Shawn Kline

School board shies from major cuts... again

St. Landry Parish Schools were expected to make about $1.3-million in cuts, preparing for a $4-million budget shortfall.
Last week, the board tabled that vote and Wednesday night, the vote was delayed again as taxpayers voiced their opinions on this alleged mismanagement of funds.

"I came here to say it and I'm going to say it!" CJ Charles said when he was told his speaking time was up, "wake up! You work for me! I don't go to work for you."

The outburst of frustration gathered a round of applause from dozens of teachers and staff members who work for St. Landry Parish Schools.

"A solution needs to be done," Bus driver, Leslie Brown said. "(The administration) needs to give us the answers that we ask."

The question Brown is asking, what are the taxpayer dollars paying for?

The St. Landry United Coalition of Educators asked the same thing of the board last week. The coalition met with the school district's central office on Tuesday to look over any glaring problems with the district's budget.

"When we received the vendor list, the vendor list book was (7,000 pages)," Ricky Julien said. "When we received the vendor list book, (it was) an overwhelming amount of information."

More than 7,000 pages of records. The coalition says in just one hour, it found several discrepancies. Julien says just one day was not enough time to review it all.

Board member Anthony Standberry says this review may save some money. That's why the board is granting the coalition more time, but severe cuts appear to be the only way to balance a budget $4-million in the hole.

"These cuts are almost inevitable." Standberry says, "we can play with it as much as we want but I know if we don't cut, the state will cut."

The St. Landry United Coalition of Educators will be looking through those documents over the next 30-days to try to find ways to make budget cuts but Julien says the coalition is looking for ways to cut that will have very little effect on teachers or their salaries.

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