Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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EBR schools step closer to potential layoffs

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BATON ROUGE - The EBR school board took the first of two votes Thursday evening authorizing the system to make staff layoffs for next school year if needed.

"This is not something pleasant. This is not something I'd like to do but we do have a responsibility to the entire system, to our students and our tax payers," said board president Michael Gaudet.

Dwindling enrollment and the growth of charter schools among the reasons for next year's estimated $20-$30 million budget deficit. Superintendent Warren Drake said 200 to 300 system employees should leave at the end of the school year from natural attrition but he won't be sure if it will be enough to avoid layoffs until mid-May.

Some board members expressed concern the potential of layoffs will hurt recruitment of new teachers.

"Just last year we had 90-plus teacher openings. So when people start seeing these things and the communication is not there, they're going to look at our school system and say, 'that's too much uncertainty for me," said board member Dadrius Lanus.

Board members will vote in two weeks whether to authorize potential layoffs, something that hasn't happened in few years.


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