Lafayette School Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper presented another alternative to the board’s $23.5 million budget shortfall. The superintendent is hoping for another alternative to soften the blow of potential drastic cuts.
Dr. Pat Cooper asked for the board’s help Thursday in charting a progressive course to balancing next school year’s budget. “Many if not all the important changes and progress we’ve made since we began implementing the community’s Turn Around Plan will be lost.”
Dr. Cooper says given the facts about the budget shortfall, he believes teachers would consider foregoing their bonus checks to keep quality teachers and classroom environments. “If we eliminate almost 300 positions and vital programs for our schools, this district will backslide.”
He also touched on coupling $4 to $8 million from the rainy day fund with a combination of administrative cuts and 2002 sales tax dollars. Dr. Cooper explains the plan is worth trying. “We’ll face the possibility of state takeovers of schools, more Charters and the dismantling,” adds Cooper.
The proposal of eliminating 17 social workers hit home for the Director of Health and Wellness Bradley Cruice. “This would directly and negatively impact every student, every classroom and every learning environment in the district,” says Cruice.
The AMI program at N.P. Moss Prep received much support. Sheriff Mike Neustrom who has helped to fund the program says he wants to see it stay. “The social workers, the school resource officers and the safety officers; all of those decisions are going to impact public safety in Lafayette Parish.””
The next LPSS budget review is scheduled for June 26 and July 9.