- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

NEW ROADS, La. (AP) - Pointe Coupee Parish School Board members say newly hired Superintendent Kevin Lemoine has shaved off nearly $1.3 million in expenditures from the 2015-16 proposed $22.2 million budget.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1Ktz3OK) board members rejected a previous spending plan, primarily from former superintendent Linda D’Amico, which included a projected deficit of nearly $630,000 for the upcoming school year.

Lemoine, who took the reins as superintendent July 1, accomplished what he did mostly through a reorganization plan for the district’s Central Office, which will mean nearly $500,000 in savings.

Lemoine also saved more than $740,000 through cuts in faculty and support staff throughout the district - without any proposed cuts to teachers.

“We wanted to cut where we felt we would feel the least impact to instruction in the classroom,” Lemoine said. “And I just didn’t want to cut any teachers.”

Lemoine’s plan received a warm reception from board members and the community when he presented it at last week’s school board meeting.

Lemoine was further praised when he also revealed two new disciplinary alternative programs that will offer students continued educational opportunities despite in-school suspensions.

“The community is very understanding of the decisions he’s had to make, and that’s important,” board President Frank Aguillard said. “When you can propose reorganizing the entire school district and get the unanimous support of the School Board, that’s something. We all see the energy he has.”

Lemoine’s Central Office revamp does away with the previous structure that placed the school superintendent at the head of an organizational chart packed with 12 same-level supervisors.

“That model placed too much burden on the superintendent to know what all 12 people are doing,” he explained.

Instead, Lemoine has created four director positions - chief fiscal officer, director of human capital, director of accountability/IT and chief academic officer - which will oversee supervisors for five different departments.

The school district offered retirement incentives to five employees and four will either be reassigned within the district or laid off, he said.

Lemoine says the changes will streamline services and help the district’s five schools by focusing on support services instead of school oversight.

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

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