New Baker Schools superintendent aims to turn around budget shortfall

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - The City of Baker School System is facing a $2.5 million shortfall, thanks in part to a drop in attendance across the district.

In recent years, hundreds of students have flocked away from Baker district schools. Many left last year to go to new charter schools in the area.

"Its for real out here, and we've got some tough decisions going forward," said Superintendent Herman Brister at Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Brister started in his position about a month ago.

Each student who leaves costs the district state funding, as the state determines allocation of funds based on overall student roll. About 60 percent of the district's budget comes from the state.

Brister said that in order stem the loss of students, they need to improve failing schools.

"It's paramount that we must absolutely must increase student achievement to make this district attractive for parents to bring students back," he said.

At the school board meeting, officials introduced new programs aimed at improving grades at Bakerfield Elementary School and Baker Middle School.

Brister's goal is to get about 100 new students back before the school year. Brister said each of those students brings between $5,200 and $5,300 in additional state funding to the state.

Vereta Lee, the supervisor of student support services in Baker, said so far they have 10 new students. She said they have been going door to door and making calls to further increase that number.

Since taking over as superintendent, Brister said the district has introduced cuts to faculty and staff. More cuts could come in the future, Brister said, though he did not give a number.

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