Council for the development of French in Louisiana hurting from - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Council for the development of French in Louisiana hurting from budget cuts

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

 

The Council For the Development of French in Louisiana, or CODOFIL, was created in 1968 with the goal of preserving,  promoting and instilling pride in the French culture, mainly through education.  

"These people who's parents spoke French but because they were punished in school, they didn't teach them French" said CODOFIL representative, Erin Stickney.  "So the immersion schooling system was to put that French language system back into Louisiana". 

Developed by the state and mandated to initiate immersion programs in each of the Acadian  Triangle Parishes, they've recently faced an obstacle that could hurt them from fulfilling that mandate. 

"He was given a mandate to cut 30 something million out of the budget and he went through it line by line and CODOFIL was one of the areas where he could find $100,000" said CODOFIL Vice President, Tony Zaunbrecher. 

In his veto message of the house bill, Governor Bobby Jindal cited 'adequate funding' as his reason for veto, but CODOFIL says reducing their operating budget from a quarter-million dollars, to just over $100,000 isn't adequate. 

"Once we go to pay our electricity and rent that puts us in the negative by about four thousand dollars" said Stickney.  

They've resorted to grassroots campaigning, soliciting people all over the world to make up for the money lost due to the cuts.  Their online campaign is geared to do just that. 

"They're asking 100,000 people to each donate a dollar" said Stickney.  "They'd like to find 100,000 people to show the power in numbers to show that there are that many that find French to be valuable in Louisiana. 

According to sources inside CODOFIL, raising the money themselves, may be a dead end road. 

"We've been told by prominent sources that if we raise $100,000 that the legislature and the Governor will decide that if they can raise $100,000 that agency doesn't need the state support" said Zaunbrecher.

They'll continue to do what they need to do, for a cause they believe strongly in. 

"Instead of keeping French in this little glass box people can look at, we can develop it and promote it as relevant, useful and modern instead of a relic of Louisiana's past.  

 

Copyright KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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