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Story Archives: School expenses excessive; teacher eliminations required by law
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|School expenses excessive; teacher eliminations required by law|
In order to balance a $500,000 deficit in the budget of the Franklin Parish School System, several parish teachers are inline to lose their jobs. According to state mandate, a reduction in staff is required by law when the teacher/student ratio declines disproportionately.
"We've lost 335 students over a period of time," said Superintendent. Lanny Johnson, "this is a mandated necessity and no different than what people are having to do every where. We would eventually be in the same position as we were in four years ago."
Johnson added that the cuts in staff would begin with peripheral programs and would not affect funding from the Minimum Foundation Program.
In the absence of maintenance supervisor Benton Moore, Johnson presented the maintenance report to school board members Monday evening.
According to Johnson, asbestos removal will begin at Franklin Parish schools after the last day of classes.
"We don't have any wiggle room in the schedule," said Johnson, "there is no where to store furniture or relocate students to another room because the extra space is not available." He predicted the projects slated at various schools would not be complete before classes resumed in August.
"There will be a few problems," said Johnson, "but we'll get through it."
Board members await the assessment of an insurance adjuster on fire damage Horace G. White Learning Center. Arson destroyed the classroom and administrative offices at the school in April.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also visited the site to assess the damage to a shop building on the campus of Horace White that flooded in the wake of last year's storms. Johnson said he expected that FEMA would make an offer in the coming weeks.
Representatives from the Franklin Medical Center offered their assistance in working with board members to implement a behavioral health program for the students attending parish schools. CEO Bobby Boullion, Terri Spence, Sheila Mason, Sharon Jones and Dr. Scott Zettner spoke on behalf of the Behavioral Outreach program at FMC.
"Our main objective is to keep the child in school," said Mason, chief nursing officer. "We have the expertise, we have the funding and we have the responsibility to do whatever we can do to help."
Dr. Zettner, board certified psychiatrist, introduced himself to board members and spoke from his experiences in his chosen field.
"I'm a traditional psychiatrist," said Zettner, "the trend seems to be hospitalization and then medication. The focus has to be on the family, not just the child."
Board members agreed to work with FMC in an effort to address behavioral issues of students.
In other news, board members will consider raising the fee of the Driver's Education course offered at Franklin Parish High School, from $225 to $250.
Bids for general maintenance planned for Gilbert and Fort Necessity schools, will be opened Thursday at 2 p.m. at the school board office. General maintenance includes replacing ceiling and floor tiles, electrical wiring, new classroom chalk and tack boards installed and a fresh coat of paint.
Members of the board will also consider approval of supervisors' and superintendent's contracts at the next regular meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Monday, May 4, 2009.