CPSB proposes to close Reynaud and cut teachers at budget meeting

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board budget committee approved a list of possible budget cuts at Tuesday evening's special called budget meeting.

Administrative staff proposed a budget reduction list to help make up for a $2,235,983 deficit. The deficit is a result of collecting more than $10 million less in sales tax revenues in the last two years.

The original proposed list of budget reductions included $8,177,513 worth of jobs in the Calcasieu Parish School System.

The budget committee did vote to remove 19 administrative interns and 2 elementary library clerks from the chopping block.

The remaining proposed cuts include 15.5 elementary school teachers, 24.5 middle school teachers, and 9 high school teachers.

The committee voted to add purchasing new textbooks to the list of budget reductions.

In addition, the budget committee also passed a motion to close Reynaud Middle School.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous to have a middle school with 150 kids and in many cases one teacher per six students," said Bill Jongbloed, a CPSB member.

According to research from the Chief Financial Officer, closing Reynaud Middle School would save the parish $2.3 million.

Committee members question whether or not space will be an issue at Oak Park and Molo Middle Schools, however.

"I can tell you now Oak Park Middle is having to build a two double pod simply to accommodate the students that they currently have," said Mack Delafosse, a CPSB member.

"If you send them somewhere else they still have to have a teacher and they have to have a classroom," said Clara Duhon, a CPSB member. "Are we really saving or do we just want to close the school? That's what I want to know."

The budget committee also passed a motion to look at what it would save to close more schools in the Calcasieu Parish with 300 students or less.

The decision to approve the list of possible budget cuts was made by the budget committee on Tuesday night. The proposed cuts will go before the entire board for final approval next week.