When it comes to cutting costs, which school is on the chopping block?

School Board June 6

If children are the future, why is the Natchitoches Parish School Board considering potentially closing Cloutierville Elementary and Jr. High School? Is it more convenient to save a dollar than a child? These were the questions on the minds of audience members at the Committee meeting Tuesday night, June 6. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

The potential closure is one of many cuts the Board is considering making to combat the projected deficit of $5.2 million it’s facing at the end of its fiscal year June 30. The bottom line is that cuts need to be made. (SEE BUDGET BELOW)

School Board member Emille Metoyer added an item to the agenda for the committee meeting calling for a discussion of the future of the school in Cloutierville. The room was packed with parents and other stake holders in the school’s future, who are all concerned.

There’s been rumors floating around the parish and word got out through social media that the school was set to be closed down. Metoyer feels this would destroy the Cloutierville community.

“I want to see it stay open,” he said. “We need to cut other ways first. Why pick just Cloutierville?”

Superintendent Dale Skinner said they’ve cut everywhere in the schools they possibly can while still maintaining the required level of education.

“The only other way I know to cut is cutting 15-20 percent from the employee sales tax checks,” said Skinner. “Are we going to be more concerned with all our teachers and employees or 125 kids?”

When looking at the money closing Goldonna or Cloutierville would save the School Board, Cloutierville seemed the obvious choice. Closing Goldonna would save an estimated $127,000 while closing Cloutierville is estimated to save $1 million. (SEE BUDGET BELOW)

School Board member Ralph Wilson said they’re fortunate to have taxes passed during the April election, but taxes aren’t the sole answer to retire the School Board’s deficit.

Rose Rawls has four grandchildren that attend Cloutierville. Claiming to be one of the School Board’s biggest advocates when the tax was on the ballot in April, she said closing Cloutierville was never brought up when they were trying to get the tax passed.

“People voted to pass the tax because they thought it would help save the schools, but it seems your decision has already been made.

Wilson claims that no final decision has been made. The Board isn’t even sure if anything will take place for the 2017-18 school year. However, they’ve already compiled a list of projected student enrollment and staffing for all the schools in the parish, taking into consideration one closure. (SEE LIST BELOW)

Several people questioned why Cloutierville was left off this list if no final decisions had been made yet. Others seem to think that if the school in Cloutierville is closed, it’s only a matter of time before Goldonna is closed as well.

Then School Board member Joella Wilson said it was time to stop beating around the bush. “We’ve been talking about it and that’s the truth,” she said.

Kimberly Solitaire attended Cloutierville, as did her parents. Now her children are students there. “What about the kids in Cloutierville,” she questioned the Board members. “It’s not just the town (Natchitoches) that represents Cloutierville but all the surrounding areas like Melrose, Gorum and Chopin.”


Budget with all Schools

Budget without Cloutierville

Projected Staff for ONE Closure

16 thoughts on “When it comes to cutting costs, which school is on the chopping block?

  1. By law how can u close better preforming schools to send kids to failing schools–Would like to ask the judge that question–Normal social engineering which started in 60’s–Failing schools affect all kids–

  2. The moment they close cloutierville, they will set their sites on Goldonna. Then marthaville, then on and on. There will never be enough. The cost of all this goes above the finances. Once you close a school, you all but kill the community. Close Natchitoches schools and bus them to the rural schools that have better scores.

  3. How about you close a school in the city and see how the parents like her they have to see their kids ride a school bus halfway across the parish.

  4. I feel for Cloutierville because once they go so will Goldonna I for one don’t want to put my 5 year old on a bus at 530 in the morning with junior high and high school students with only one driver and/or assistant to supervise the 1 1/2 hour ride around and final drop off. I would rather quit my job and home-school. Why is it that the smaller schools end up going first. We struggle every year to keep our school alive we have a tight knit community that shows tremendous support for our school . How about schools that are failing both monetarily and scholastically get their ‘extras’ cut. This tax we voted on was supposed to keep our schools safe what the heck happens to the money if it’s shut down. Goldonna may not be on the chopping block but Cloutierville is facing the same sentence and Goldonna will soon follow. We need parents out at these meetings to rebuttal.

  5. They say timing is everything… after all the tax renewals passed, now they show us how to save money. I do have one question. With similar enrollment numbers, why would Natchitoches Mag have 7 cafeteria employees while Marthaville has only three?

  6. If there is going to be a school closing, or multiple closings I believe the School Board should look at everything. Before you close a school, eliminate board member pay, look seriously at Central Office staffing and at individual school positions. Just looking at the individual schools positions it sure appears that there are positions that could be eliminated or combined. Now this will require everyone to work. It appears that there are too many support people under the principals in some schools, too many secretary/support personnel in others. What happened to principals running the schools. Now they have someone under them to handle discipline, etc. Too many jobs have been created. Leave teachers in the schools.

  7. It is awful wanting to close such a close nit community school. Many complain about teachers and the way schools are handled but if you walk in their shoes for just one day you would see the awesome work teachers do and how the kids love being at Cloutierville. Teachers work very hard at bettering children’s future. It is a struggle but they don’t give up. Cloutierville Elem is a close family. Teachers show concern for their students. The scores have improved. The school has so many activities for the children. My child wants to go to school in the morning since the new principal has been there. The staff at CEJH treats the children as their own. Sometimes they are tough but it is only because they know the students have potential and they want them to do the best they can. They prepare students for the real world….. I feel it would be a mistake to close a school where they children DO COME FIRST as the NPSB wants to live by…

  8. w0uld be better if the kids that are supposed to go to Cloutierville School went to that school instead of elseware.

  9. You’re fighting an uphill battle, just ask the people in Chatham. I bet you can’t me where Chatham is ? My point is this town had a school also that was closed down , all the students are now bused to Jonesboro and surrounding areas. Needless to say the town has almost been forgotten. Being from Natchitoches, I have always tried to keep up with all things and people involved with my hometown, but I’m afraid this is going to be bad news for Cloutierville. All I can say is Keep Fighting.

  10. We live on Fairgrounds Rd-well within 5 miles from any Natchitoches elementary school. I was told my child would be going to Cloutierville. So I have been shelling out money for sub par schooling so I wouldn’t have to send my kindergartener on a school bus by himself that far away every day. I think it’s a great idea for many reasons. Of course it’s not good when people are losing jobs, but if it’s okay to ship elementary students from Natchitoches to Cloutierville, shouldn’t it be okay to ship children from Cloutierville to Natchitoches or Goldonna?

    • I agree 500% and the kids in Payne subdivision have been going through this for years 5 year old kids catching the bus at 5 am

  11. Can someone confirm when they are actually going to vote on closing the the school?

  12. This will finish our town off. It’s one of the nices schools in the parish. Revamp the way it’s runed one reason some parents have left the school is because no one listens to the complaints. It’s soppost to be no child left behind unfortunately that is one thing going on there.

  13. I know how we could save the schools. Cut all of the government assistance plans that our state spends millions upon millions on. But we all know that won’t happen.

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