A $23 million budget shortfall within the Lafayette Parish School System has some drastic cuts coming soon. There are a lot of options the school board is looking at, but not everyone agrees with the proposed solutions.
The Lafayette Parish Association of Educators and the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana held a press conference Wednesday addressing the issues. Disagreements over school district budget cuts are nothing new and it’s not sitting well with educators this time around either.
“We were very surprised because just three or four weeks ago, that number was 8, 10, $12 million and it grew very quickly,” said Rodolfo Espinoza, President of LPAE.
Proposed cuts include eliminating teachers, which will increase class size. Also, cutting employee earnings by as much as $3,000 and slashing classroom materials.
There’s also talk that much of the budget will go towards funding charter schools in the district. Espinoza says above all else, the costs of standardized testing need to go first.
“(We need to be) getting rid of bureaucratic testing that we see in our profession today,” said Espinoza. “We see kids being hurt by it, we see teachers overworked by it and we think that’s the primary place to begin.”
The school board sent out nearly 2,400 surveys so faculty can weigh in on the budget process. But LPAE members say it was multiple choice with no room for comments. LPAE vice president Jonathan Cole says they’re working on a more objective approach of their own.
“(We want input on) what kind of suggestions can be made at the school level,” said Cole. “So, we’re asking for input for ideas and we are paralleling a lot of the questions the district questionnaire included.”