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Livingston Parish School Board Cost Cutting Task Force called a 'farce' by frustrated citizens

5 months 1 week 3 days ago Monday, June 19 2023 Jun 19, 2023 June 19, 2023 10:33 PM June 19, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON PARISH - Three months and a failed tax later, Livingston Parish is still trying to pay its teachers a better wage. Monday, the school board's special task force met to approve the upcoming school year's budget. 

"We've asked our people to do more for less for years and years, we got to put them first. The biggest problem and reason people didn't support the tax is that it wasn't going to the teachers, it was going to more folks that are top heavy at central office. If we were calling it for the teachers we need to put them first," Board Member and District 2 Representative Kellee Hennessy Dickerson said.

The cost cutting task force was created by the school system after facing pressure from teachers and their unions to find money for a pay raise. A third party consultant is expected to be hired to review the budget and recommend cuts.

"It wasn't a task force it was a task farce, absolute waste," resident Julie Easterly said.

"Right now I feel like we've really been dragging our feet on this. I don't feel that we pushed hard enough and fast enough to make something happen and tighten our belt," Dickerson said.

The budget was approved with opposition from the crowd. One resident was frustrated after having to give up her copy of the budget proposal, which was taken by police.

"The Superintendent told me that I had to come into the office, make an appointment and he'll have someone sit with me. I said what is this, Communist China? It's public money, they work for us we don't work for them," Easterly said. 

Dickerson says it's important for the board to be transparent with the public if they want to make this happen.

"We need to be an open book and if an open book means a forensic audit then let's do it. If we can't find any ways then we tried our best, but we have to give it a thousand percent to let them know that we care and we want to make a difference," Dickerson said.

"There's several places in there. They mentioned a surplus of $1 million, a $3 million surplus and it went on and on. I said for crying out loud if I would've had my calculator out and we could've had the schoolteachers a raise this afternoon," Easterly said.

There will be a public meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. to discuss the budget that was approved Monday.

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