Lafayette School board takes another look at meeting security

The Lafayette Parish School Board could pay more than $5,500 annually for security at its meetings if the board opts Wednesday to approve a policy related to hiring a security officer.

The board meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and is scheduled to take action on a new policy that enables the board president to decide whether security is needed at meetings.

Board President Hunter Beasley said he’d like security to attend regularly scheduled meetings of the board.

Costs are estimated at $5,536.80 to hire a school resource officer to attend the meetings. A school resource officer is a police officer trained to work in schools.

The estimate is based on a five-hour board meeting at a rate of $30.76 an hour, according to information provided with the board’s agenda.

The board will begin talks about other expenses Tuesday during its first budget workshop scheduled for 4 p.m. at the School Board office.

The workshop will cover non-general fund accounts, such as those for construction projects and food service.

The workshop to discuss the district’s general fund, which includes instructional programs and salaries, is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 20. Based on a tentative timeline, a public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled June 26.

The school district begins the budget process without knowing the full financial impact of three new charter schools that open in August in the parish.

The schools are eligible for local and state funds.

Last month, the school district’s chief financial officer, Billy Guidry, told the board that conservative estimates of first-year enrollment in the three schools shows the district may lose about $9.6 million in its per-pupil state funding to the schools.

The district could cut its own expenses by nearly $3 million related to students shifting to the charter schools, Guidry said.