Stuck between balancing a budget and making cuts

NPSB- Meeting 07-13-17

List of Retirements, Resignations, New Hires and Transfers attached.  Full meeting video available.  

It’s a countdown to the beginning of school on Aug. 14 and staff at the Natchitoches Parish School Board are diligently at work. The problem they’re facing arises from an approximate $1 million deficit in the budget. The NPSB staff is now doing the best it can, which Superintendent Dale Skinner said is the hardest situation he’s ever been in.

When the Cloutierville community voiced its opposition to closing the school in its area last month, Skinner took it off the table. The board was looking into possibly closing Cloutierville Elementary and Jr. High in order to balance the budget.

Since this is no longer an option, personnel cutbacks were the next thing to be considered. Add to this rumors on the street and social media that schools will be losing their arts and music programs this year. This is where the board stands as of its meeting Thursday night, July 13.

“Right now nothing is finalized,” said Skinner. “Everything right now can change. Cloutierville closing is not an option as of today.”

According to Director of Personnel Linda Page, each school is being examined on an individual basis to determine where cuts may need to be made. Some principals are being given choices on which electives they’d like to continue to offer.

The bottom line is that changes will continue to be made on a daily basis as adjustments are needed to meet the needs of the students, which is the primary focus of the NPSB.

However, budgetary restraints limit choice. When looking at cuts, initial drafts included a variety of electives, but when compared to the numbers needed to balance the budget, more has needed to be eliminated.

While it’s understandable that parents have questions, there are no adequate answers at this time. Skinner said they should have a better idea of where they stand within the next few weeks.

Below is a list of teachers who have resigned, and ones who are being transferred. While cuts are being made, the list does contain new hires, but Page said these are critical personnel (math and agriculture teachers that are harder to find than others). The list of resignations expanded from the committee meeting Tuesday night to the board meeting Thursday night and is still subject to change.

Board President Ralph Wilson said he fears they will see more resignations in the days to come.