The Lafayette Parish School System is facing a deficit of $10.4 million for the 2016-17 school year.

Dr. Donald Aguillard said the deficit is expecting a seven percent decline in sales tax revenue which accounts for abut half of the total deficit.

Though sales tax collection may be declining, the district has budgeted conservatively if a rebound occurs from that revenue source.

The challenge facing Aguillard and the School Board is where to make the cuts recover the funds needed to fill the gap.

We're going to protect the classroom unit as long, and as much as we can," Aguillard said he stressed to the School Board. "Early on we decided not to make any changes to the pupil-teacher ratio.

The budget proposal will be discussed at a special school board meeting Thursday.

In the proposal, Aguillard said there are staffing cuts to be made. Among the 29.5 suggested cuts are four assistant principal positions and four central office positions. The proposal also downsizes some positions and eliminates unfilled positions.

The Board will also consider freezing salaries for the upcoming school year. That move would save the district

The remainder of the debt would be covered with $5 million from a reserve fund.

Click the photo above to listen to Bernadette Lee's interview with Dr. David Aguillard.