AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish School Board has approved a 2012-13 budget
that narrows a $9.5 million gap with more than $5
million in one-time funds and projects a $1.3 million deficit.
The School Board voted 8-0 Tuesday to adopt a $128 million budget that includes suspended employee leave and step raises, attrition, timber sale proceeds, an increase in Medicaid reimbursement and a Hammond-area millage with only one more year of voter approval.
None of those cost savings can be counted on for future budget years, Chief Financial Officer Bret Schnadelbach said.
District officials should begin looking at long-term solutions for 2013-14, Superintendent Mark Kolwe said. Residents provided good suggestions during the system’s financial summit in May, he said.
Three main factors have contributed to the district’s budget woes: stagnant state Minimum Foundation Program funding, increases in state-mandated retirement contributions and rising health care costs, Schnadelbach said.
All three are outside the district’s control, he said.
Increased competition for state education funding should guide future budget decisions, board member Brett Duncan said.
District officials also should reconsider their desegregation plan, which calls for the construction of three new schools, a career education center and a performing arts building, Duncan said.
Kolwe agreed it should be discussed, but said he was not prepared to do so Tuesday without the attorneys or architects present.
Other action during the School Board meeting included:
MILLAGES: The School Board voted 8-0 to roll forward the district’s parishwide constitutional millage to 4.06 mills, which is projected to generate $1.95 million.
The board also voted to levy the alternative program tax at 3 mills and the accelerated program tax at 9 mills. The Hammond-area millages, levied at their voter-approved maximums, will generate $680,562 and $1,835,000, respectively, Schnadelbach said.
District millages, used to pay down bonds in each zone, will be levied as follows: Hammond, 2.75 mills, down 0.25; Sumner, 14 mills, down 3.0; Independence, 14 mills, down 1.0; Champ Cooper, 1.5 mills, down 0.5; Kentwood, 6.5 mills, down 0.5; and Ponchatoula, 1 mill, down 0.75.
NEW PRINCIPAL: Kolwe introduced Lance Harrell, disciplinarian at Ponchatoula Junior High, as the new principal for O.W. Dillon Elementary School in Kentwood.