Tonight at 6 p.m. in the Abbeville High Auditorium, the School Board will hold its bi-monthly meeting to talk about the budget.
The town, with a population of around 1,600, is a farming community that thrives around its schools. But, because of dwindling sales tax revenue and oil and gas revenue, the School Board is looking at ways to cut the general fund budget. The School Board is also having to dish out another $2.5 million to the school retirement fund, which is also putting a pinch on the budget.
The closing of Gueydan High School, which has a high school enrollment of less than 200, would save the School Board $900,000 a year, according to Phill Sellers, the financial officer for the School Board.
Last week in Gueydan, a town hall meeting was called to talk about the closing of the high school.
Educators, parents, Gueydan business leaders and other concerned citizens gathered at the home of Kay Ockwell, educator at Jesse Owens Elementary School, to organize a committee to prepare for the possibility of the closing of Gueydan High School by the 2011-2012 term.
There were around 38 persons who attended the meeting. There were Police Juror Leon Broussard, School Board member Bill Searle and Mayor Bob Hensgens. Hensgens will be at tonight’s meeting.
“I am expecting a good crowd from Gueydan,” said Hensgens. “By saying closing Gueydan High is an option, that made people nervous. It made them think.”
The Gueydan community is worried that if sales tax dollars do not increase, the school will close.
“It is the long term,” he said. “We want to attend the meeting to show how important Gueydan High is to the town.”
Two points of concern made at the Gueydan meeting last week were that the closing of a school will cause a hardship on students by having to be transported to other locations, and most importantly, which is a known fact, that the closing of a school marks “the death of a community.”