A $12.6 million dollar shortfall in DeSoto Parish School Systems operating budget for next year could force the closure of Pelican All Saints in Pelican, Louisiana. The school's approximately 170 K-12 students would have to move north to Mansfield.
Frustrated parents say a commute to Mansfield would force students to wake up early for an extended commute. "The kids are going to be tired, when you're tired and sleepy you're not going to pay attention, and I'm going to get phone calls telling me my child wanted to sleep in class," says parent, Rhonda Clark.
The budgeting shortfalls are a result of slumping sales tax revenue in DeSoto Parish. In two years sales tax has dropped from $70 million dollars to $20 million dollars as the number of shale gas drilling wells in the parish has dropped from 60 to fewer than 10.
Superintendent, Dr. Cade Brumley says the reduced revenue has handcuffed DeSoto Parish Schools. "It's forcing us to make some tough decisions, but we have to ensure a responsible educational system for taxpayers while providing students the opportunities they deserve."
Parents will have a chance to meet with the Superintendent on February 25th. A decision on the closing could come as soon as March 14th.