Ten Central Office “Purchasing” employees lost their jobs in the Caddo Parish School Board. Several had 19 to 33 years seniority, but news of job cuts, particularly at schools, has not been uncommon. These lay-offs were not parallel to secretarial and clerical cuts that brought indignant school employees and parents to school board meetings. We are questioning these actions within the central office in light of recent purchase orders and contracts that have been signed.
One released Title I NCLB IDEA Grant, with notes from the central office, indicated that standard protocol for requisitions and vendor contracts have not been followed. “Contracts that normally call for training to be supplied when large dollar amounts are spent for software or materials in the classroom were not aggressively negotiated. The public’s interest has been second to the profits of select individuals and companies that have had ‘cozy’ relationships with insiders.”
The Inquisitor regularly reports the system-wide lay-offs in the school system and ran some of these numbers again today. However sources informed an investigator that lay-offs in purchasing positions should be followed with exit interviews. Three of the purchasing agents had over twenty years experience and one had 33-years in the school system. It is the belief that these lay-offs are consistent with dissention within the central office over purchasing policies and priorities of vendors. The use of Child Nutrition funds in an adult-only cafeteria at the Central Office was the subject of a prior article on this site. And the use of funding by the Caddo Parish School Board, according to an inquiry in Baton Rouge, is in direct violation of the law.
Litigation from a teacher’s union and additional discussions regarding seniority and discriminatory lay-off policies are still open. Schools, devastated over the loss on key office staff, have been scrambling to get ready for the start of school. Released employees were critical support personnel for teachers, principals and parents. Participants to discussions believe that job security of central office employees, was the reason for the majority of the previous lay-offs in school-based positions. Central Office employee jobs, that have little or no direct contact with students, are now on the chopping block by board members who previously supported the Dawkins recommendations for personnel changes. Board members are frantically struggling to address issues brought into questions concerning policies and procedures that may not be in compliance with Federal and State guidelines and over-sized classes at “Failing” schools.