GREENSBURG — The St. Helena School Board voted Thursday night to join dozens of other school districts in challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education revision package.
The Louisiana School Boards Association sent letters to districts across the state earlier this month, asking for each district’s support in the fight against Act 2, or House Bill 976, of the recent legislative session.
The act, which takes effect Aug. 1, authorizes the use of state school funds for vouchers allowing students from low-income households to move from poorly performing public schools to private or parochial schools.
The association contends the act violates state and federal constitutional principles in three areas: bundling multiple legislative purposes into a single bill, using state public-school funding for private schools; and using public funds to support religious schools.
The School Board did not discuss the legislation or lawsuit openly but voted 5-0 in support, with only member Linda Chaney absent.
In other matters:
BUDGET UPDATE: The district will close out the 2011-12 fiscal year with a deficit of about $457,000, Finance Supervisor Amy Holland said.
Revenues were about $5.3 million with expenditures approaching $5.8 million, she said.
The district’s general fund balance going into 2012-13 will be about $1.1 million, Holland said.
The district was on the verge of bankruptcy just one year ago, with a deficit in 2010-11 of about $1.4 million, Holland said.
Had the district not made significant changes, the general fund would have been almost completely wiped out this year, she said.
Instead, the district has bought another two or three years worth of time, assuming no further reductions are made, she said.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find where we’re going to cut,” Superintendent Kelli Joseph said. “We need more revenues.”
POLICY REVISIONS: The School Board also voted to revise district policies on a number of personnel topics, including the superintendent’s legal status, employment and evaluation, as well as employee tenure and dismissal.
The revisions were made necessary by the recent legislative changes embodied in Acts 1 and 2, Joseph said.