Calcasieu Schools hit with $6.3 mil cuts

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish Schools will not be receiving the $6.3 million they were expecting from the state after the Jindal administration's decision to redirect the money from school districts to higher education.

Governor Bobby Jindal recently decided to move the $147 million from school districts in Louisiana to struggling higher education institutions instead.

"For us, it was a huge blow that we weren't going to be able to utilize that money," said Wayne Savoy, Superintendent of Calcasieu Parish Schools.

Calcasieu Parish is currently already down $12 million in sales tax collections. Thus the district was hoping the state funding would help make up for those losses.

"Our plan for that money was to ease the burden of the general fund this year by using that money to off set those unfunded mandates that we have," said Savoy.

Despite the bad news for the district, Savoy said the administrative staff was already prepared for this to happen. The budget committee will be using their general fund to make up for sales tax revenue losses that will not be paid for by the anticipated state funding.

"We've made it a practice especially since I've been superintendent to see the money before we do anything with it," said Savoy.

However, Savoy's main concern is for school districts statewide that were promised extra funding they will not be receiving.

"But if they're not sure we're going to get, then don't tell parishes that they're going to get the money," said Savoy.

The budget committee will be drafting the fiscal budget for the 2011-2012 school year in the coming weeks. The next committee meeting will happen sometime in January.

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