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May 14, 2013 8:06 PM by Tina Macias

School board still working to balance budget

The Lafayette Parish School Board met today to discuss its budget and how to cover a $12 million shortfall projected for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

That shortfall likely will be cut in half through cost-saving measures that include increasing employees' health insurance premiums, implementing a 2 percent budget cut to central office budgets and decreasing teacher positions by strictly implementing the school system's student-teacher ratio.

Those eliminated teacher positions will not require layoffs, but instead will be covered by closing positions left open by the hundreds of teachers who have retired or resigned from the school system this year.

The board is now faced with deciding how to cover a $6.7 million deficit remaining in next year's budget. It could dip into its $20.4 million rainy-day fund, or make additional cuts.

School system officials presented several cuts that would total more than $9 million in savings, but dissatisfied with those proposals, the school board adjourned its budget workshop early and asked for more recommendations that would affect students less.

School system officials had recommended that the board choose from:
- increasing the student-teacher ratio by 1 student for a savings of $2.4 million
- eliminating team teaching at Edgar Martin Middle School for a savings of $1.28 million
- eliminating pay increased for a savings of $2.3 million
changing the physical education program for a savings of $1.4 million
- implementing a one-mine walk zone to bus stops for a savings of $2 million.
The school board's next budget workshop is May 21. It will vote on the budget in June.



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