Louisiana cuts some school funds

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2009

VIDALIA — Due to budgetary constraints at the state level, students at Vidalia Junior High School may not be getting a monetary award for their academic accomplishments.

Concordia Parish School Board President Loretta Blankenstein said the school’s students earned the award because of their high achievement on state-mandated standardized tests, like LEAP.

But Blankenstein said she recently learned funding to the Louisiana Board of Education had been cut and the money that should have gone to the school will no longer be granted.

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Thursday’s school board meeting brought a tentative remedy to the problem, however.

Board member Fred Butcher suggested the board recognize the school’s achievement by granting half of the sum they would have otherwise received.

“That’s money that the students have earned,” Butcher said. “They should get it, and the state’s just refused.”

Butcher said the money is spent at the principal’s discretion and can be used on any projects.

Butcher’s recommendation was taken under advisement and will be discussed again at the board’s next meeting.

Blankenstein said the district must check the availability of funding before promising the money.

But just how much funding will be needed remains to be seen.

Blankenstein said awards to other district schools have been up to $16,000 in the past.

If state funding were available, it would have been to the school by March, Blankenstein said.

In other news, board President Gary Parnham and Vice President Raymond Riley were unanimously reelected to their posts at Thursday’s meeting.