Official: More auditors, staff changes could mean more revenue for school system

New positions could boost collections

The Lafayette Parish school system’s chief financial officer has proposed adding new positions and making changes to existing ones, all in the hope of identifying more sales tax revenue for the school district.

The addition of two new auditors and the reclassification of some positions would enable more time for reviews of collections, said Billy Guidry, the district’s chief financial officer.

Guidry also proposed a new position of assistant sales tax director to handle administrative work done by some advanced auditors to free up their schedules for more audits.

The three new positions and the reclassification of some data entry positions to include more responsibilities are estimated to cost about $266,000.

Guidry said he thinks the cost would be covered by new collections based on the current audit collections, which average between $300,000 to $500,000.

Guidry said there are about 14,000 businesses that remit sales taxes to the district and five auditors on staff, though one of the auditors works solely with new businesses.

“When you look at the number of sales taxpayers we have, we feel that there’s a lot of coverage that we’re not getting because we’re limited as to the number of audits we can do per year based on staff we have,” Guidry said.

Guidry recommended the new positions and personnel changes during the School Board’s first budget workshop earlier this month. About $233 million in sales tax revenue is projected for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

The board’s decisions on the budget won’t come until after May, when the board holds its next workshop to discuss the general fund, which includes the accounts tied to instructional costs.

In the coming school year, the district expects to lose some of its state per-student funding, which will follow public school students who enroll in one of the three charter schools that open in August. The charter schools are eligible for a share of state per-student funding, as well as local tax revenues.

Guidry has said that the district could lose as much as $7 million in state per student funding and more than $4 million in tax revenues.