AMITE — Delegations from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s are recommending roughly $1.7 million in purchases for the upcoming school year, including items ranging from security cameras and air conditioners to iPads and SmartBoards.
The recommendations, made by delegations of board members representing various areas of the parish, go before the full School Board on July 17.
If approved, the purchases would be made using the district’s Pay-As-You-Go funds, which come from a 30-year, one-cent sales tax voters approved in 1982 and renewed in 2007, Chief Financial Officer Bret Schnadelbach said following Tuesday’s meeting.
The one-cent tax is projected to bring in about $17.2 million in 2012-13, but only about $1.7 million of that will be available for the purchases, Schnadelbach said.
The remainder of the tax proceeds, he said, are designated as follows: $8.5 million for facilities maintenance; $5.5 million for debt service on the new O.W. Dillon Elementary and three other new schools to be built under the district’s desegregation plan; $423,000 for a roofing fund; and $1.1 million for a new air conditioning fund the district will soon establish.
School principals throughout the district submitted requests for more than $4.3 million in purchases using the Pay-As-You-Go funds, requiring administration officials to recommend deferral of roughly two-thirds for consideration on a later date, Schnadelbach said.
The funding requests were prioritized, with safety concerns and building standards outweighing other academic needs, according to documentation Schnadelbach provided.
High-priority items recommended Tuesday include security doors and cameras at multiple schools, a burglar alarm for Woodland Park Montessori School’s technology wing, drainage improvements at D.C. Reeves Elementary, air conditioning improvements at Independence High School and updated kitchen equipment at multiple schools.
Lower-priority items recommended include computers, iPads for administrators, SmartBoard projectors, copy machines, desks, shelving and storage cabinets.
The Rev. Jimmy Richardson, a former School Board member from Roseland, asked delegation members why some schools’ high-priority needs, such as expansion to fight overcrowding at Midway Elementary, go unaddressed, while other schools receive lower-priority technology upgrades like iPads and SmartBoards.
The Pay-As-You-Go funds are currently distributed throughout the district on a per-pupil basis because that was the system voters adopted when they approved the tax, said School Board member Brett Duncan, who chairs the Hammond delegation.
Although the federal judge who oversees the district’s desegregation case has recommended a parishwide, single-fund district, that type of system has not yet been court-ordered or voter-approved, Duncan said.
The school system’s overall PayAs-You-Go fund balance will remain near a projected $17.6 million after the approved purchases, Schnadelbach said.