St. John School System headed for layoffs

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2010

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – St. John the Baptist Parish School Superintendent Courtney Millet and Executive Director of Business and Finance Felix Boughton met with the local teachers’ union to review the district’s most updated budget and to discuss a looming reduction in force in the district.

Millet said there is currently a $3 million deficit that the system will at least partially compensate for through layoffs. She added they also looked at projected staffing reductions as well as staffing requirements at each individual school.

The force reduction has been made necessary, in part, because the contracts of retirees who were part of a group of 90 one-year employees that received letters last week saying their contracts were ending on June 30 must now be considered on an individual basis. Millet noted the letters were standard procedure and go out to this group of employees every year.

According to the policy of the St. John school system, “Reduction in force will be made on a systemwide basis in the categories of employees, and not on a building-by-building basis.” Additionally, seniority will play a major role in deciding which staff will be laid off.

Millet said when considering a retiree’s seniority, only the years they have been back with the system since retirement will be acknowledged.

The representatives from the union who were at the recent meeting all received a copy of the district’s reduction in force policy. “Everything’s transparent,” said Millet.

The union has not yet responded to what was presented to them. They will meet on Monday.

In addition to the layoffs, Millet said a freeze has been placed on all full-time, nonclassroom personnel. She said the duties of vacant positions will be absorbed by other employees.

Despite the layoffs, Millet assured, “We’re doing all of that and still maintaining the integrity of the classroom.”

Look for more of this story as it develops and in the Wednesday, May 5, edition of L’Observateur.