Last Modified: Monday, July 02, 2012 11:40 AM
Gov. Bobby Jindal used his line-item veto ability to cut $100,000 in funding for the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana out of the state’s budget last Friday.
The allocation, approved by both the House and Senate, would have kept CODOFIL’s operating funds at the same level as the year before.
Joseph Dunn, CODOFIL’s executive director, said the cut represents 40 percent of the organization’s operational budget.
Dunn said that while CODOFIL does not “directly assist” area schools, the cut will significantly hinder its ability to recruit and train French immersion teachers and foreign associate teachers who would be sent to those schools.
“This affects us operationally and programmatically. We will not be effectively able to provide support assistance to schools,” Dunn said.
Calcasieu Parish has five French immersion schools: Gillis Elementary, Prien Lake Elementary, Henry Heights Elementary, S.J. Welsh Middle School and Barbe High. Jefferson Davis Parish has one, Park Vista Elementary.
Acadiana lawmakers had problems with the cut because it harmed the agency that promotes French language and culture.
State Reps. Jack Montoucet, Vincent Pierre and Stephen Ortego complained at a Thursday news conference about the funding cut. Montoucet, D-Crowley, said the governor “has no interest in the Cajun culture.”
“Remember, it’s only $100,000, and I know we have more than 100,000 Cajuns in this part of the state,” Montoucet said.
“That $100,000 was an investment in our people, our culture, our identity and our economy,” said Ortego, D-Carencro.
The cut to CODOFIL is part of the $15 million Jindal seeks to cut from the state budget.
In his veto message, Jindal referred to the cut: “This activity has been adequately funded, and this veto will help comply with the $15 million preamble adjustment; therefore, I am vetoing this item.”
CODOFIL hopes to make up for the loss through private donations.• The Associated Press contributed to this report.