That summarizes the school system’s financial predicament. The attrition savings of about $1.7 million will be used to bring the Fiscal 2011-12 budget closer to balance.
In addition to giving up those 34 teaching slots, the system will eliminate the Adult Education program, closing facilities in Eunice and Opelousas and leaving AE to the state-run technical school system.
That action was first reported in The Eunice News several months ago.
Supt. Michael Nassif outlined the administration’s budget plan to the board at its July meeting as he asked for a declaration of financial exigency, or emergency.
Such declaration allows the system to proceed in whatever fashion is necessary to balance its budget.
So far, most jobs are safe. “We may have to declare a reduction in force, but right now I don’t foresee that,” Nassif said.
Payroll savings are being realized through attrition not layoffs.
Eliminating Adult Ed will save about $350,000. Program administrators are being re-assigned to alternative programs.
In Eunice, that program for students suspended or expelled will be located on the junior high campus.
AE teachers are being re-assigned on the basis of certification/tenure/seniority, Nassif said.
If the state state application for $350,000 to operate the AE program is approved, the closure will not take place.
The budget crisis is driven by the $3.2 million increase in retirement fund contributions required by the board, unfunded mandates from the state, loss of economic stimulus funds and costs of desegregation implementation and conclusion.
Nassif began preparing the board for the necessary spending changes last September and reminded it at every opportunity since of what was taking place.
That familiarity by board members led to a unanimous acceptance of his request Thursday and no questions about the plan to this point.
Member Scott Richard noted that the system’s methodical march toward the looming crisis avoid some of the drastic actions other parishes have had to take.
Other points in the budget plan:
– removing perfect and merit attendance incentives for teachers, $35,000.
_ eliminating two career and technical teaching positions, $100,000.
_ shifting $750,000 of board contributions for hospitalization insurance from the general fund to a sales tax fund until the budget picture improves.
– hiring no substitutes for non-teaching positions except bus drivers.
– placing a freeze on new hiring.
– reducing General Fund subsidy to the lunch program from $950,000 to $700,000.
_ paying career/technical teachers at all high schools with Racino funds, about $744,000.
The freeze on hiring provides for exceptions determined necessary for the superintendent/supervisor of personnel/personnel committee.
For example, the board on Thursday approved hiring a new accountant, bringing to six the number in the Central Office.
Board member John Miller voted no, saying he found it puzzling to hire an accountant when classroom positions are being eliminated through attrition.