Personnel Cuts To Roll Through Lafayette Schools

LAFAYETTE, LA (AP) — Lafayette Parish School System officials will spend the next several weeks trying to figure out how to make personnel cuts across the district.

         The Advertiser’s Amanda McElfresh reports the school board voted 6-2 Wednesday to direct staff to implement its adopted 2014-15 budget.

         The board agreed to let personnel cuts be delayed until Dec. 31, although they could come sooner, depending on how officials approach the situation.

         Among the positions that could be eliminated in the coming weeks are teachers, assistant principals, counselors, special education para-educators, deans of students and others. It remains unclear exactly how many positions will be cut, how many may be lost through attrition and how many are currently vacant.

         Board President Hunter Beasley said he hopes board members and officials can work to try to mitigate the effects of a challenging situation.

         "There are tough decisions to be made," Beasley said. "I am not of the mindset to be cutting people's positions right in the middle of the year… I'm not of the mindset to take people's livelihoods away on a whim. I'll be looking for other funding sources or ways to get money or whatever the case might be."

         Board member Rae Trahan said the situation was brought about because the district has more personnel than allocated under its current formulas.

         "We have excess staff we can't afford and never could afford," Trahan said during a Wednesday budget workshop. "At this point, looking at having to have a reduction in force and letting people go at this time of the year is just a horrible thought. But this circumstance has not been brought about by this board and its direction to staff. We let you guys know in the summertime."

         Back in September, the board adopted a 2014-15 budget that included millions of dollars in cuts, including reductions to the number of assistant principals, counselors, special education staff and deans of students, among others. The board made the cuts to help close a $20 million deficit. But they never went into effect after then-Superintendent Pat Cooper refused to implement them.

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