HOUMA, Louisiana — Terrebonne's top public school administrator says no decisions have been made on cutting jobs or programs to deal with an expected $6 million budget shortfall.
Superintendent Philip Martin told The Courier (http://bit.ly/12p0jVZ) that any discussion of massive layoffs in the works is unfounded.
Officials are deliberating how to fill the revenue gap, with budget hearings scheduled in June. Typically, the School Board approves a budget by the start of the fiscal year July 1.
The board delayed the process, hoping to be buoyed by an additional $25 million annually from a proposed 31-mill property tax increase. Terrebonne voters defeated the tax by a 3-to-1 margin in the May 4 election.
Martin said the system has enough vacancies among its roughly 2,400 positions to avoid layoffs.
"We could eliminate 160 teaching positions, and nobody would be laid off," Martin said.
However, he said, working at the "highest levels of austerity" is not ideal.
"Class size is going to continue to creep up," he said.
Last year, the system had to cope with an $11 million shortfall, which it dealt with in part by cutting about 100 unfilled positions.
Martin said it's possible another 50 positions could be taken off the books.
Cuts to athletic programs are unlikely, he said, because most of the financial burden for the programs is with the individual schools, which raise money to help sustain them.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com