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Calcasieu school officials plan to eliminate 158 teacher positions to alleviate deficit

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 6:54 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

Officials with the Calcasieu Parish school system have a plan to eliminate 158 teacher positions to alleviate the $13 million deficit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Karl Bruchhaus, chief financial officer, will make the staff’s recommendations at the budget committee meeting at 4:45 p.m. today at 3310 Broad St.

The staff is recommending nearly $10 million in cuts. But the bulk of the savings would come from a staffing formula that would cut 158 teacher posts in the first year and save the system nearly $8.7 million. Most of those positions — about 100 — are retirement positions that wouldn’t be refilled.

“The School Board’s financial situation is very difficult,” Bruchhaus said Wednesday. “Whenever you’re affecting people’s jobs and their lives and their children — this is something we all take very seriously. Our goal is to continue to provide the best possible education we can. But we have to do it within the revenues available.”

The formula includes regular classroom teachers. The student-to-teacher ratios per school include a 20-to-1 ratio for grades K-3 and a 25-to-1 ratio for grades 4-12.

The district’s expenditures are nearly 84 percent salary and benefits. Bruchhaus said the staffing formula is a long-term solution that will create stability within the budget.

“It’s impossible to do large reductions to a school system budget without looking at salary and benefits,” Bruchhaus said. “We’re trying to solidify our budget for years into the future.”

Each year the principal will know how many teachers he or she is getting based on the staffing formula.

“It creates a constant that is applied parishwide,” he said. “There will always be cases where we will vary from the formula, but we want to create a situation where we can identify those variances.”

The formula would not be implemented fully the first year. If it were, 359 positions would be eliminated, but the staff is only making the 158-position proposal because “that’s what it takes to balance the budget for next year,” Bruchhaus said.

“We need something that makes us financially solid going into the future,” he said.

Other expenditures the staff wants to cut include not refilling an administrative position, $115,970; property and casualty insurance savings, $425,000; eliminating 32 paraprofessional positions, $660,960; and not allowing non-athletic trips that would cause split routes, $50,000. However, the staff added a public information officer position, $53,000, into the budget.

Another recommendation is that the board adopt a revised revenue figure that adds $1.8 million in sales tax revenue and $1.3 million in state money — totaling nearly $3.1 million.

The decision to implement the staff proposal will be up to the board. Bruchhaus expects “great debate” over the proposal.

The school system’s deficit mainly stems from a reduction of $3.6 million in state funding, an increase of $2.9 million in retirement costs, an increase of $1.5 million in health insurance, and $2.2 million in local funding transfers to charter schools.

Posted By: che On: 6/4/2013

Title: So glad I left?

In a state where the education system is so far behind the rest of the world, the solution is to fire the teachers? Really? So glad I moved my children out of Louisiana!

Posted By: Edith On: 5/23/2013

Title: Do Not Agree

Why is it that when the Officials get in a money bind the children (Students) have to suffer? I must say that I do not agree with all the cuts to Teaching positions. I think they should look a bit higher up in the system and found out why they are so short of funds... Just an Idea.

Posted By: Happy living in another state On: 5/23/2013


I lived in Louisiana for 50 years. We pulled up our family and left the state 6 years ago because we didn't want our children to be brought up in such a backward educational system. Happiness is Louisiana in a rear view mirror.

Posted By: goose On: 5/23/2013

Title: cutting teachers

Once again our school system is being attacked by the very people who are supposed to protect the education of our children. Instead of being overly "top heavy" at the schoolboard office and having three or more principals at a school, trim the fat and keep the cream. The children need teachers not a motley crew of administrators who spend there time trying to figure out how to cut a teacher, cut the lunch menu to bread and water (without utensils I may add) and trying to figure out what island they will take their next vacation on. Give the children the teachers they need....they are the future of Louisiana!!

Posted By: Dennis On: 5/23/2013

Title: Dennis

Yet another reason for me and my family to move out of this State. Way to go. I don't know why every time you guys have a problem you try to fix it by getting letting teachers go, how stupid is that. I think what would help the budget for this and all states is have all elected officials be on a no salary bases only their expenses paid by the people. Ok, so now who in the hell is going to teach our kids. You are all a bunch of idiots. But that's ok maybe these wonderful teachers will fine a better job out side this State of Louisiana that has continued to get worse and worse. I have one girl and six boys and every one of my boys have had to move away from home to other states to find a good job and now you idiots want to cut teachers. Well then good bye!!!!!

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