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EBR School Board President: 'Somebody's going to have to be cut'

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BATON ROUGE - The ongoing battle at the East Baton Rouge School Board over budget concerns continued Thursday.

Residents, parents, and employees took their frustration with the situation and the superintendent to the podium.

"The Superintendent proposed an 8% pay raise with no way to pay for it, leveraged that to try and get himself a job in another state, and now you have a mess to clean up," a speaker said.

"Our leader has failed us because every student every day doesn't matter. Why didn't you cut all those people in your senior cabinet?" another speaker said.

Four budgets have been proposed so far. The first one includes the eight percent raise for teachers and support staff Superintendent Narcisse promised nearly a year ago. However, funding for this option is unsustainable after the upcoming school year.  

Options two and three are one-time stipends for all, funded by different sources.

Option two uses funding from Proposition 1, 2, and 3 and Child Nutrition to provide a $2000 stipend.

Option three uses the same funding but also dips into the general fund to provide employees with a $3000 stipend, costing the board a $6.2 million deficit when compared to option two.  

The fourth option is a $4000 stipend for teachers and a $2000 stipend for support staff that allows the board more time to work on the budget, with a plan to incrementally increase employee salaries over time. 

"I'm favoring option two because it gives all educators not just classroom educators, we definitely need all hands on deck," Academic Program Specialist Destaney McKinnie-Meyers said. 

To make these raises possible, cuts have to be made. A letter sent to 160 East Baton Rouge School System employees warns them of the possibility of having their position terminated.

"When you look through any of these budgets, at some point, someplace, somebody's going to have to be cut," EBR School Board President Dadrius Lanus said. 

The vote to choose a budget was deferred until July 6th. At that meeting school board members will narrow down the proposed budgets to two options. The deadline to decide on a final budget is September 15th.

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