CPSB hears 2014-2015 budget shortfall, Common Core concerns

CPSB hears 2014-2015 budget shortfall, Common Core concerns

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board held three meetings Tuesday evening. The first was a special meeting where the board voted to terminate a contract for the contractor working on Sam Houston High School's new field house.

Superintendent Wayne Savoy said the contractor basically just walked away from the job and has not responded to any phone calls.

The project is 68 percent complete and the opening will now be delayed, officials said.

In their second meeting, the Curriculum and Instruction Committee met to hear presentations for information only. Lauren Beckham gave an update on the Progress Project, stating Oct. 1 was their one-year mark.

The organization works with 21 priority schools in Calcasieu Parish.

And Beckham said so far, they've met all timelines, objectives and goals.

The committee then heard from Calcasieu Parish Against Common Core's Barry Badon.

Badon said, "This type of education has been tried around the world and has failed. It's not the high expectations that I'm against. It's the implementation which is a train wreck and I think you guys know that."

Badon said they're holding a meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Sulphur Regional Library to provide more information about Common Core. Those for and against are welcome to attend.

Common Core Coordinator Judy Vail responded, saying comparing Calcasieu Parish to other areas is a good idea.

"Those are the reasons I believe and a lot of the people that work at my building that have been working on this for three to four years feel like this is the direction we need to move," said Vail.

Superintendent Wayne Savoy said their goal is to have higher expectations but not get away from traditional teaching.

"I have a problem with the speed that they are trying to get it implement, that's the first thing. And I'm surprised that no one has talked about the assessment that's coming down that's going to be related to the Common Core. That bothers me," stated Savoy.

The board then moved into their third meeting. The Budget/Fiscal Management committee began by discussing substitute teacher pay.

In September, the committee referred the issue back to staff with principal input. On Tuesday, the board approved the new recommendation which reflects the following:

- Same daily rates $80 - $65 - $58

- Rigid enforcement of the full pay on the 11th day with daily pay capped at: $214 (Certified), $100 (Degreed-no certificate) and $58 (Non-degreed)

- Full pay 1st day for approved sabbaticals and leaves without pay, but not ordinary vacancies on 1st day of school.

The recommendations are based on consistency, equity, and financial reasons, according to CFO Karl Bruchhaus.

The committee then heard a preliminary budget outlook for 2014-2015, which normally isn't provided until around March.

According to Bruchhaus, they're facing a $13.5 million shortfall for next year.

As it relates to their budget, they've had a 10 percent decrease in salaries since 2002. And they've shifted that 10 percent that's no longer in salaries, to benefits.

"And we've had to do that. Had we not done that we'd be in way worse shape, because those benefit costs were going to go up no matter what," said Bruchhaus.

But because there hasn't been any real growth in revenue, the board will have to look at things to cut over the next few months.

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