- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board has voted to give principals and other supervisors authority to make some hiring decisions that have been left in limbo for the past few weeks, although the school system is still facing job cuts.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1nI37tj ) the board voted to save 17 social worker and 37 instructional strategist jobs that were on the chopping block to balance what remains as a more than $7 million budget shortfall. Employees report to school on Aug. 5 - a week ahead of students’ return Aug. 12.

Another major advance for the board in the budget process was that it ended its lengthy, account-by-account review of its general fund with a single vote Tuesday that approved suggested cuts to dozens of accounts.

The full impact of the board’s decision Tuesday had not yet been calculated, but prior to the vote, the board chipped its $7.3 million shortfall down to $7.2 million, Matt Dugas, finance director, said after the meeting.

The board in a 4-1 vote agreed with a suggestion by board member Rae Trahan to approve the remaining recommended cuts.

Prior to the board’s vote, Cajundome director Greg Davis asked Superintendent Pat Cooper about the impact the board’s suggested cuts would have on the district.

“Cuts made as they stand would be devastating to our schools,” Cooper told him but added that the board plans to hold another meeting to address supervisors’ specific budget appeals during a meeting on July 24. At that meeting, the board will need to consider a reduction-in-force policy to begin the layoff process based on prior board budget cuts, chief financial officer Billy Guidry said. In prior meetings, the board reduced the employee count by more than 100, including positions for teachers, assistant principals and counselors. A super-majority or at least six votes is needed to implement a reduction in force.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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