Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:19 AM
JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish School Board voted 9-3 Thursday to eliminate French programs in elementary schools and implement other cost reductions as part of a plan to save nearly $700,000.
Board members David Capdeville, Jason Bouley and Richard McNabb voted against eliminating the positions; all other board members voted in favor. Board President Donn E. Dees was absent.
“I think we have a big enough and strong enough budget to go in the deficit for another year,” Capdeville said. “I was hoping we could cut nothing right now.”
Superintendent David Clayton said four French teachers will be affected. At least seven other classroom positions will likely be eliminated, mostly through retirement and resignations, he said.
“We are hoping this will alleviate a lot of the deficit for next year,” Clayton said.
The board did not take any action on a measure tabled last month that would have eliminated music and art teachers in elementary and high schools and certain Response to Intervention positions funded by the board.
Board member Jimmy Segura asked that the measure be tabled last month to allow members more time to consider the proposal. On Thursday he said he was pleased that the programs were saved and wants to see where the board goes now.
French and Spanish programs will continue at the high school level, Clayton said.
“High school students will still get the French or Spanish they need for TOPS and other programs,” Clayton said.
The board has been closely eyeing its finances as operation costs, including teacher retirement, insurance and technology updates.
The board is paying $2.7 million more annually now than five years ago for retirement costs, Clayton said. In addition, it will have to spend nearly $100,000 to upgrade software and computers for new student testing.
The board still has a “very healthy” reserve, but does not want to drain the fund, Clayton said.
Posted By: C J THIBODEAUX On: 4/21/2013
There never was a a purpose for teaching French in our schools other than providing jobs for foreign teachers. I grew up in the fifties and was punished for speaking cajun. I always knew the government was was wrong in trying to bring back the cajun language. I did not want my kids to learn it because we were discriminated because of it. My cajun accent caused me much hardship in an English speaking country. I was detained and and interrogated by fed authorities upon my return from a tour of duty as a soldier. I knew then, that my kids would never know the cajun language, so they would not be harassed by ignorant people.