School Board issues general notice of personnel reductions

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

The Iberville Parish School Board on Monday voted unanimously to issue a general notice that it might to reduce personnel to cut $3.3 million from its budget to keep it in balance.

The general notice gives school employees notice that the board might have to implement its “reduction in personnel” policy.

“The purpose of a general notice is to give personnel and staff advance notice that the district may have to reduce its number of employees in some categories,” Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne Jr. said in a memo in which he recommended the action.

Dr. Cancienne said the school system faces a 4.7 percent increase in retirement benefits for teachers and 7.4 percent for school employees, totaling $1.6 million; loss of $300,000 in growth, and a $1.7 million decrease in funds from the state Minimum Foundation Program.

Earlier in the meeting, during a discussion of Cancienne's personnel recommendations, some board members questioned hiring new personnel at the same time it was issuing a notice of potential layoffs. The board ultimately approved his recommendations.

“With layoffs coming, I have reservations about adding personnel,” said Board Member Darlene Ourso of White Castle.

Cancienne sought permission to hire a nurse for North Iberville Elementary School, to fill the new Central Office position of chief academic officer and a secretary for the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy-West, Ourso noted.

“We don't need to hire any new employees,” Board Member Dorothy R. Samson said.

She said she understood the need to hire a new principal for East Iberville Elementary and High School and to transfer teachers to MSA-West to handle the increasing student body there, but made a motion to hold off on other new hires “till we get a handle on layoffs.”

The superintendent said an overstaffing by nine elementary school teachers has been handled, and the teachers he recommended for positions are all certified teachers from Iberville Parish.

“This has been carefully thought out,” Canine said.

“I think it's a true mistake not to hire certified teachers from Iberville Parish,” said Board Member Paul B. Distefano of Plaquemine. “...We need to stop micromanaging and let the superintendent do his job.”