Teacher jobs saved in 2013-14 Tangipahoa budget

An increase in state funding and some shifting of local funds enabled the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s Finance Committee to recommend adoption Tuesday of a 2013-14 budget that would maintain the district’s number of teachers but could mean losing up to 15 noninstructional positions.

None of the 15 positions are filled, district officials said.

The School Board had directed the district’s administration on May 15 to recommend personnel cuts or other cost-savings measures to close a projected $900,000 budget deficit for 2013-14.

Those recommendations, circulated in advance of Tuesday’s School Board personnel and finance committee meetings, had included the elimination of 36 vacant positions: 16 elementary teachers, 11 paraprofessionals, five secondary teachers, three maintenance department helpers and one ROTC coordinator.

However, the Louisiana Legislature’s last-minute grant of $69 million to public schools as part of a state budget deal injected some much-needed funds into the district’s coffers, Superintendent Mark Kolwe said Tuesday.

The district is slated to receive an additional $1.7 million in state funding, half of which is dedicated to salary supplements for certified teachers with the other half unrestricted, Kolwe said.

That additional funding, combined with some revenue shifting within the district’s budget, allowed the administration to recommend maintaining the district’s instructional staffing levels for 2013-14.

As a result, the 16 elementary and five secondary teaching positions will be saved, but the paraprofessional, maintenance and ROTC positions will lose funding through the operating budget, Chief Financial Officer Bret Schnadelbach said.

Some of those noninstructional positions may still be maintained through alternate revenue sources, Schnadelbach said.

A copy of the proposed $137.2 million general fund budget will be provided for public inspection on June 24 and set for public hearing on July 16.