The Lafayette Parish School System pitched ideas to the School Board’s Finance Committee Thursday that could whittle an estimated $16.5 million shortfall down to about $1 million.

No decisions were made Thursday. The full board will begin discussions on the general fund and potential budget cuts in May.

Interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune asked the board to be direct with staff about its wishes, especially if it plans to propose cuts that would eliminate positions or programs. He also said a decision on class sizes is needed soon to help principals and human resources make staffing decisions as soon as possible. Last month, the committee, in a 2-3 vote, rejected staff’s recommendation to increase class size by one student, though some board members requested information on class size increases at schools with letter grades of C or higher to ensure staffing at D and F schools wasn’t changed.

The board will take action on the student-teacher ratio recommendation at its April 15 meeting.

“We will be requesting for the board to approve the pupil-teacher ratio and we’d like to get this done on Wednesday night so our (human resources) department can begin immediately to take the necessary steps,” LeJeune said.

Increasing class size by one student at all schools could produce an estimated savings of $4 million, while the savings at only A, B and C schools would be about $2.8 million.

Additional potential cuts presented to the committee include:

Removing five teaching slots at the biomedical academy, for a potential savings of $325,000

Eliminating the vacant schools of choice coordinator position, at a savings estimated at $72,000

Reducing legal fees by $100,000.

Other recommended cuts discussed last month that remain on the list include:

Cutting 10 licensed practical nurse positions, for an estimated savings of $320,000

Eliminating seven social worker positions, saving some $504,000

Eliminating the annual step salary increase and pay-for-performance stipend, for a potential $2 million savings.

Staff is still awaiting information on potential savings within the Transportation Department.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.