BAKER — The Baker school district’s budget projects a $780,000 deficit for the 2012-13 fiscal year, board members found out during their work session on Tuesday.
Revenues are expected to total $16.4 million, while expenses are estimated to reach $17.2 million, business manager Sidney Stewart reported.
The original budget for 2011-12 also projected a shortfall, but the district was able to fill the gap through staff attrition and other cost-saving methods, Stewart said.
The district finished the previous school year $81,000 in the black.
Stewart attributed the increased projected expenditures to as-yet undetermined costs associated with the new sixth-grade magnet program at Baker Middle School, $74,000 for a new kindergarten program at Park Ridge Elementary Magnet, $300,000 for implementing the Teacher Advancement Program at Baker Middle, and the rising cost of insurance, among other items.
Salaries for the new assistant principal and a counselor at Baker Middle were also included, although Superintendent Ulysses Joseph admitted that the assistant principal hire would be a replacement rather than a new position.
Board President Elaine Davis said it would be better to wait until final numbers are received from the school district staff before addressing the potential shortfall.
The budget will be up for approval at the board’s meeting on Sept. 4, she added.
Other matters before the board included:
LUNCH PRICES: The board unanimously approved a 25-cent price increase for school lunches in all Baker schools. Food services coordinator Henry Belin explained that only students who pay full price for lunches would be affected.
He estimated that 20 percent, or 100 to 200 Baker students, fall under that category. The remaining students qualify for free or reduced meals.
SCHOOL INSPECTION: The board agreed to pay Volkert Inc. of Baton Rouge $10,000 to assess the Baker High School facilities.
The inspection will include electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and building structures such as windows, doors and floors. “This will allow us to only fix what needs to be fixed,” Joseph said.
STUDENT HANDBOOK: The board voted 3-1 to approve changes to the student handbook for the 2012-13 school year with the stipulation that the section pertaining to the new zero-tolerance policy be removed.
Board members Davis, Dana Carpenter and Shona Boxie voted in favor of the measure.
Board member Doris Alexander cast the dissenting vote. Board member Troy Watson was absent.