Cloutierville safe from closure, but personnel is up for cuts 

DaleSkinner
Superintendent Dale Skinner decided to take an item off the Natchitoches Parish School Board’s June 8 meeting agenda, which would address possibly closing Cloutierville Elementary and Jr. High School after supporters voiced their opposition at a Committee Meeting June 6.

“We’ll have to make cuts at every school as long as we don’t have to close Cloutierville,” said board member Emille Metoyer. “I’d rather wait and see how much the new 1/2 cent sales tax will bring in once we start collecting it July 1.”

Skinner said he took the item off the agenda because there wasn’t the 6 votes to support the school’s closure. “The vote’s just not there,” he said. At this point the NPSB is about $1.5 million short of coming within budget. The closure of Cloutierville would have saved $1 million.

“We’ve already put a lot of hard work into the budget and we’ve already cut to the bone,” said Skinner.

However, looking at making cuts now will focus on the 85 percent of the budget that is personnel. If employees make an average salary of $50,000, then around 30 employees will need to be cut.

“Now we’ll have to make cuts we never wanted to make because of the vote. It’s sad to me,” said Skinner, who said he wishes the board would vote based on what’s good for the student body as a whole. Cutting personnel will mean teachers will be overtaxed. The recent School District score with the LA Dept. of Education rose from a C to a B, but Skinner feels cutting personnel will badly affect the scoring in the future.

The board will now address what steps should be taken next at its June 8 meeting at 5 pm at the School Board office on Royal Street. They will discuss having the kids in the City (C-1 school district) attend City schools instead of busing them out to Cloutierville. They will also discuss moving grades 7-8 at Cloutierville to the Jr. High in Natchitoches.

“This should help alleviate some of the busing issues do we’re not busing kids when we don’t have to,” said Skinner. “I’ll do what I’ve always done, which is recommend what’s best for the kids.”

8 thoughts on “Cloutierville safe from closure, but personnel is up for cuts 

  1. I believe the system needs an independent audit ,by the States Legislative Auditors, to look for ways to prevent cost overruns on contracts put out for public bids. Having an independent audit will save taxpayers and the system $100.000.00. For example, one particular bid ran over approximately 1 million dollars. I believe the entire project was near 1,5 million dollars! The board President, Ralph Wilson, as much as confirmed this in the meeting on June 8, 2017.
    Allowing Cloutierville to remain open, according to Superintendent Dale Skinner, the system will have to cut 30 teaching positions!
    The cost overrun on that one construction project, if prevented, was enough to prevent these layoffs.

  2. The board should streamline the central office, have principals run the schools instead of several people under the principal. Put teachers not currently in the classroom back in the classroom. Why so many custodians in the schools? School lunches definitely need to improve. More food goes in the trash than in the mouth of the students.

    • Have you worked in the school system? It’s not just teaching anymore, it’s paperwork, testing, accommodations, and much more. The assistance principles or coordinators along with the master teachers are needed to help with testing (both prepping the material and administering the test) along with a ton of other paperwork as well as working with teachers. As far as custodians yes the school need them they could even benefit from more. The custodial staff not only has to keep the inside of the school clean; cleaning each classroom (mopping, vacuum, take out trash, and more) keep the halways clean (mop and wax floors, pick up trash, ect), keep restrooms clean (clean toilets, sinks and counters, take out trash, stock paper towels, toilet paper, soap, mop, and more; and most days it’s done multiple times a day) set up for special events (set up tables and chairs) maintain all office spaces, libraries, gymnasium, ect, on top of helping with maintenance work. Don’t forget they have to maintain the outside of the school as well. They have to mow, trim bushes and trees, weed flower beds, take care of things like ant beds, and general maintenance.

  3. Did not realize an average salary at Cloutierville school was $50,000. How many employees work at the school? How many actually make $50,000 per year?

    • If I understand this correctly, that isn’t the average salary for Cloutierville school employees, but for Natchitoches parish, where the average teacher’s salary was $49,500 according to the 2013 auditor’s report. The savings from closing Cloutierville would come not just from salaries, but also from operating, equipment, and maintenance costs. I don’t know how many teachers are there, but the parish total is just over 450. There were also 24 principles and assistant principles in the parish in 2013.

  4. Why do teachers in the schools nerd to be cut out? Why not not cut the board members salary? Starting with the superintendent, who is quick to say what everyone else’s salary is. How much is Mr. Dale Skinner making a year. Start with him when making cuts.

    • According to the most recent state auditor’s report I could find:

      “In accordance with Louisiana Revised Statute 17:56, the school board members have elected the monthly payment method of compensation. Under this method, the members of the school board receive $650 per month. In addition, the president may receive $50 per month for exercising the duties of the office.”

      The total compensation for all the members of the school board was $86,000 four years ago. It probably isn’t much higher today. Skinner would be making about $8,000 per year, and cutting him wouldn’t save even one custodial job.

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