The Chief Financial Officer for Lafayette Parish Schools, Billy Guidry wants to see the school board tackle the proposed $15 million budget shortfall as soon as possible. Guidry says it's up to the board to decide what to do. "Depending on the kind of response we get we have a couple extra months to work with the numbers."
The current shortfall is not the first time the board has had to fight-off a possible deficit. Guidry says each resolved shortfall limits the options available to the board. "A large percentage of the budget as it should be is geared towards the classroom. It becomes more difficult to implement cuts without impacting the classroom directly," says Guidry.
Guidry says contributing factors weighing heavily on the budget include: less money from the state, the board's increased contribution to the retirement system adds $18 million dollars, then the charter schools enrolling Lafayette Parish students.
"A good bit of the shortfall is attributed to our students who reside in Lafayette and enrolling in the charter schools. So what ends up happening is both the state and local dollars end up following the student to the charter schools," explains Guidry.
"So, even though the money has followed the student we have to find the money again in order to meet the obligation in terms of the tax dedication," adds Guidry.
The Special School Board meeting to tackle the budget shortfall is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30pm. The $15 million shortfall includes $4 million in new activities for the community's Turnaround Plan.