School board discusses other ways to deal with $1.5 million deficit

NPSB-06-08-17 (5)

Cloutierville School supporters packed the school board meeting room for the second time in less than a week at the Natchitoches Parish School Board meeting  June 8. The call to order began the meeting, followed by the invocation and pledge of allegiance after which a quorum was found to be present with all board members in attendance.

Superintendent Dale Skinner began the meeting by declaring that the closure of Cloutireville Elementary/Jr. High was “off the table” as there were not enough votes on the board to do so. He further pointed out that without the money that would be saved by the closure, the school system was facing a $1.5 million deficit. If other means of saving enough money cannot be found, the system will be faced with layoffs of around 30 teachers. Other items to be looked at would be increases in the amount employees pay for insurance. Skinner pointed out that the districts letter grade had risen to a B from a C and that this progress would be endangered by personnel cuts.

The board started off in agreement as the consent agenda, approval of the minutes from last month’s meeting and the items on the finance committee all passed unanimously.

The committee items all passed with the exception of the last item on the Executive Report which would have enabled the board to “Consider, if financially feasible, moving students in grades 7-8 from Cloutierville to the Natchitoches Jr. High for the 2017-2018 school year (assuming approval of Federal Judge).”

Not all of the items passed unanimously. The board approved a 1 year contract with Durham School Services for bus services in hopes of obtaining a better price later on.  Board members Mike Hilton, Melder and Garner all voted against the 1 year deal. Item 4 of the Executive Report  addressed “Consider allowing the students that live in the vicinity of Natchitoches to attend schools in the city of Natchitoches as opposed to being bussed to Cloutierville School. Some of the areas under consideration are as follows: Point Place, C-1, Airport Road and any other area located nearby (all assuming approval of Federal Judge).” After some spirited discussion, the item passed despite the no votes of Metoyer and Harris.