East Feliciana school salaries frozen

East Feliciana Parish school employees won’t get annual step raises built into their salary schedules next school year unless the district’s financial picture shows improvement.

The School Board adopted a 2013-14 budget on Tuesday that cuts out the step increases for the second consecutive year and anticipates a smaller than usual “13th check” from a revenue source dedicated to employee salaries.

Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said the board could revisit the pay raises later in the year when the school system learns how much state funding will be available.

The Louisiana Legislature recently rejected the state Minimum Foundation Program funding plan submitted by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Usually, that would mean the state funding would be the same as in the previous year, but Lewis noted that the state Supreme Court also has declared the funding formula for 2012-13 unconstitutional.

The School Board may have to amend its budget when the amount of East Feliciana’s state allocation is known, he said.

Freddie McClendon, of Faulk and Winkler, the board’s financial advisers, said the budget for next year includes about $150,000 in dedicated tax revenues that can be divided among the system’s employees as a 13th check later in the year.

The board has divided as much as $600,000 in previous years, but the new budget uses some of those dedicated funds for the second year for employee health insurance and retirement contributions.

The general fund budget anticipates revenues of $23.9 million and expenses of $23.62 million, with an operating surplus of approximately $200,000.