- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RAYVILLE, La. (AP) - Budget cuts have forced Richland Parish Schools to scale back its truancy program as part of a $1 million reduction plan.

That reduction could cost the board its long-time truancy officer James Smith.

Board Vice President David Barton said Tuesday that Smith’s position is a supplemental position to Harold Gallman, the district’s personnel director who also oversees truancy.

Smith’s former position will become a $16,000 contract position without benefits. According to the district, the cut will save the district $23,400. Smith called the district’s former truancy program ‘the best in the state.”

Barton tells The News-Star (https://tnsne.ws/1sCcez0 ) the cut in funding for the truancy program is simply a matter of finances, not personalities. More than 90 percent of the district’s expenses are personnel related.

“When you have to cut, one of the only places you can cut is personnel,” he said. “The decision to make these cuts was determined using financial data put together by the business manager, the superintendent and the finance committee.”

The district has lost more than 200 students over the past year, forcing it to take a hard look at finances again, on the heels of two years of cuts totaling more than $4 million.

Among other cuts are a printer’s position in central office, $200 per teacher allocations from the general fund, the Rayville High School arts facilitator, two special education teachers, six additional teacher positions and a librarian.

Smith said he will not apply for the contract position, calling it “a slap in the face.”


Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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