Top 10 Stories of 2021: CPSB enrollment drops

Published 3:28 pm Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Calcasieu Parish School Board reported a loss of 3,000 students last January most likely due to hurricane-damaged homes. As a result of the drop in enrollment, the district faced a $12,960,696 minimum foundation program shortage.

The MFP is the dollar amount the state allocates per pupil for public school costs.

CPSB Chief Financial Officer Wilfred Bourne said the reduction in funds began in February, but he was hopeful students would soon return.

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“Every kid we can get back between now and Feb. 1 we still get credit for, but for Feb. 1 we can see there’s going to be a reduction.”

Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus said the state would be holding $2 million monthly until June.

“It’s a lot,” he said.

No teachers were cut to make up for the shortage, instead the district absorbed the costs in other areas.

“We’ve got a commitment until the end of the year,” Bruchhaus said. “We’ve still got to pay all of our people.”

Bourne and Bruchhaus remained positive that increased sales tax, likely from building materials, and decreased maintenance costs due to hurricane recovery funds would help soften the blow.

“As housing comes back, we still feel like a lot of our people will come back when there’s a place to live. We’re not panicking at this point. We took a hit but we’re still hoping next year we’ll be closer to normal,” Bruchhaus said.