Previously, non-certified, or support, employees did not have “bump” rights when job slots have to be cut due to financial emergency such as now exists.
The policy adopted by the board earlier this spring gave teachers and other certified employees the right to bump a less-senior employee in any previous job capacity he or she held.
Now, support workers -- secretaries, paralegals, lunchroom, etc. -- have the same right.
The board had balked at approving a first round of layoffs last week when it realized the support employees did not have the bump option under a RIF policy members approved earlier this spring.
Now, seniority is a first checkpoint on the RIF list. That will change in St. Landry and other parishes after July 1 when new state law incorporating performance evaluation into the process takes effect.
The policy change earlier this spring might have been one of the last the board approves without asking more questions.
Part of the reason it finds itself treading water in a sea of red ink, some board members feel, is that the board routinely rubber-stamped spending actions proposed by the previous administration.
That is no longer the case as board members are asking questions until they are satisfied they have answers the need.
Such was the case Monday when what was essentially a routine suspension of procedure to allow adoption of a revised policy bogged down in questions about how layoffs are being determined, how many are envisioned and how much will be saved.
The school system has agreed to cut its spending by about $4 million in the year ending June 30 and by about $6 million in the year beginning July 1.
If it does not, the state’s Fiscal Review Committee stands ready, though not really willing, to step in to improved the board’s financial posture.
Finance Director Tressie Miller told the board Monday that the 187 proposed layoffs are projected to provide a $6.7 million savings in wages, insurance and retirement costs in the next fiscal year.
Acting Supt. Joseph Cassimere noted that 72 employees have turned in resignation notices this spring, and said the ultimate savings involved in that attrition and any others that might decide to retire as the school year winds down could impact the degree of the layoff plan.