CPSB plans to cut $14.23 mil from budget

The Calcasieu Parish School Board met early Wednesday morning to discuss ways to make up for a $14.23 million shortfall for the 2011-2012 budget.

The shortfall is due to a major drop in sales tax revenues. Calcasieu Parish collected $13 million less in sales tax revenue last year than the year before.

As a result, board members met on Wednesday morning to compile ideas on different areas to make possible cuts.

The ideas pitched in the discussions included cutting enrichment programs, changing bell times, combining schools with 300 students or less, cutting central office positions, and postponing the purchase of buses and textbooks.

According to school officials salary and benefits for employees are the highest percentage of the board's budget. However, board members do plan to keep the money in the classroom.

"We are doing our best to not cut teachers and it may come to that at the end but it looks like we're heading in the direction to make cuts not to affect teachers," said Jim Schooler, CPSB member. "Our students are the number one thing we have in mind on this board."

The suggestions from the board on Wednesday are only ideas and the budget has not yet been proposed.

The administrative staff will examine the ideas and prepare to make cuts at the budget committee meeting in April.

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