OPELOUSAS – The St. Landry Parish School Board voted 7-4 Thursday night to lay off 68 employees for the 2012-13 fiscal year from a recommended list presented by acting Superintendent Joseph Cassimere.
Finance Director Tressa Miller told board members before the vote that the staff reductions will save the financially-troubled district about $3.3 million starting July 1.
Cassimere did not reveal how many employees were being affected when he addressed the matter before the board’s vote but confirmed after the meeting 68 employees were being laid off.
Board member John Miller also said after the meeting the employee categories most seriously affected by the layoffs are school nurses, those who are teaching English as a second language and classroom teacher aides.
The board also voted to consider further employee cuts at its next meeting.
Board attorney Gerard Caswell said the names of employees identified on the layoff list became public record after the board had a chance to review the list of names before to the vote.
Board member Ronald Carriere moved to delayed a vote on the layoff but failed to get a second.
He said he preferred to vote on the list given at Thursday’s meeting in addition to the one that will be considered at the next meeting as one staff reduction package.
Caswell told the board that those laid off at Thursday’s meeting will be placed on what he termed a “recall list,” meaning the workers are subject to being offered jobs when positions become available.
Cassimere said the laid off workers will be notified of the board’s decision by certified mail.
Voting for the employee cuts were Anthony Standberry, Charles Ross, Raymond Cassimere, Candace Gerace, Roger Young, Josie Frank and board President Kyle Boss.
Those voting “no” were Miller, Carriere, Huey Wyble and Quincy Richard.
Scott Richard and Harry Fruge were absent from the meeting.
At a previous meeting, Cassimere said the list approved Thursday was compiled after a series of meetings with a central office reduction-in-force committee.
The board was presented a proposed list of workers to lay off at a meeting in April but voted to delay action.
The board also took no action on the matter in May, after deciding support workers such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, teacher aides and janitors were not being given the same chance to move to other jobs within the school system as teachers.
The board’s action on the layoffs followed the approval of a Finance Committee report critical of the district for not acting more aggressively in reducing its projected deficit.
Larry Dyer, who represents a company the state Department of Education hired as a financial consultant, told the Finance Committee at a May 29 meeting that he projects the district’s deficit to reach about $1.3 million by July 1.
He forecast the district would run out of money through the first half of November if it did not take further steps to cut costs and improve efficiency.