A tightening budget and new state regulations will be some of the toughest challenges facing the next superintendent of Livingston Parish public schools, retiring Superintendent Bill Spear said Friday.
Spear’s last day on the job will be Nov. 12, followed by his official retirement Feb. 15, he said.
The School Board will begin advertising for his replacement Monday, according to a timeline the board approved Thursday night.
The board will accept applications through Oct. 2 and announce the candidates at the Oct. 4 board meeting, President Malcolm Sibley said.
A Committee of the Board of the Whole will conduct interviews Oct. 9, beginning at 6 p.m., in a meeting open to the public, Sibley said.
The full board will then vote Nov. 8 to select the new superintendent, he said.
“The budget will be one of the biggest challenges the next superintendent will face, simply because of the financial constraints that have been placed on all public education systems in this state,” Spear said.
The state’s Minimum Foundation Program funding for school districts has remained stagnant for four consecutive years, with the omission of the 2.75 percent growth factor, he said.
Coupled with increases in state-mandated costs, such as retirement contributions, the flat funding “continues to hamper any system’s ability to balance the budget,” he said.
The School Board adopted a 2012-13 budget Thursday that includes a $2.8 million general fund deficit largely caused by that dynamic.
Projected increases in sales tax revenues and a reduction in the district’s contribution to group health insurance helped buoy the budget for the coming year.
However, rising mandated costs and the loss of state and federal funds that had boosted general fund support for salaries have led the district to adopt short-term solutions such as the elimination of extended sick leave, hiring freezes and temporary cutbacks on substitute teachers.
“The implementation of the new education reforms sent down by the state will also be challenging,” Spear said.
There are still many unknowns about how the new regulations will work, particularly with the value-added assessment measure for teacher effectiveness, he said.
“The new rules and regulations coming down from the state Department of Education are not necessarily an even playing field,” Sibley said. “But I think Livingston Parish is still going to do what we have to do to educate our kids and keep in the top tier of the state.”