The Lafayette Parish School Board ended its budget review meeting early due to lack of a quorum. However, the superintendent spoke early before the meeting was concluded Thursday.
“We have to show the public we are using the funds generated from the 2002 half cent Sales Tax in the proper manner as called for on the ballot,” said Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper.
Dr. Pat Cooper delivered yet another balanced budget proposal; but this time using recurring funds, no reserve dollars, and without increasing teacher student ratio.
“We also looked at this budget relative to not laying off teacher and staff and providing for all students based on their needs not just their location,” added Dr. Cooper.
Dr. Pat Cooper explained the 2002 Sales Tax proceeds will need to come in to play; but used in the manner the tax calls for. He noted such as a the 13th check for teachers from interest earnings? He said that should continue.
“But there is nothing in the ballot proposition that allows for a so called 14th check and that has to be discontinued.”
The superintendent explained there’s $9.7 million available in the tax fund for the upcoming school year. It can be used to help teachers and put the school system more in line with the requirements of the 2006 Consent Decree leading to Unitary Status.
“But it will assure the pupil teacher ratios will either be reduced or remain reasonable in all schools. The teachers will have the essential personnel that will stay and adequate classroom materials and supplies can be given,” said Cooper.
Dr. Cooper is hoping after the change the board will make plans to ask the public for a tax that would include a permanent raise. “Not just for teachers but for support personnel as well.”
The next budget meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8 at 5:00pm.