Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper may well be in the midst of the district's greatest decision.
Dr. Cooper and the school board must figure-out how to balance a $23.5 million budget shortfall without affecting quality of education.
"Everybody knows my stand on this issue of social workers and nurses, is that we treat the whole child." There's also the issue of outside the classroom. Dr. Cooper says with 17 social worker positions at risk some children could end-up on the streets. He said it's the districts job to keep that from taking place.
"Teachers are just not equipped to do that. If we lose these social workers; which is what the board's budget is forcing us to do, then we're going to lose a lot of children," adds the superintendent.
The LPSS Director of Health and Wellness told the board last week that 4,000 direct services will go undelivered; and teachers will have to learn to manage without the support of mental health services.
"We're going to be forced to abandoned our health and wellness program. We're going to be forced to abandon our anti-dropout program. I think we're going to see a lot more kinds on the streets; and on the streets there's a lot more chance for them to do damage and get into the law enforcement system," explains Dr. Cooper.
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