School Board given 'A' rating

School Board given 'A' rating

Postlethwaite and Netterville auditors reported to the West Feliciana Parish School Board Tuesday that the district would get an “A” rating based on legislative criteria for its 2010-2011 audit report.

Auditors Mike Schexnayder and Rodney Combs said the school district met all government accounting standards, it had no thefts, its deadlines were met and the books were “in very good shape.”

In spite of the good audit, Schexnayder said the board was facing financial challenges because of rising retirement, health-care and other mandated costs.

Superintendent Hollis G. Milton detailed those increased costs, which he said are averaging about $500,000 annually, and include:

• $116,000 in the teacher retirement system.

• $27,500 in the Louisiana School Employees Retirement System.

• $100,000 in group health and life insurance increase.

• $30,000 fuel costs reimbursement to contracted bus drivers.

• $92,000 if a salary freeze is lifted for all employees with one year of experience

.

• $185,000 if the salary freeze is lifted for all employees with two years of experience.

Milton also reported that the MFP funding, state aid for public schools, has decreased because of the loss of student enrollment in the parish.

Board secretary-treasurer Helen “Ruthie” Davis said 5-year and 10-year financial projections are nearly impossible because of the continued increases of mandated costs and the general economic conditions of the state and the nation.

“If I had to make a projection now,” said David, “it would be bleak.” She said it was also too early to tell what traffic impact the new bridge might or might not have on the economy of the parish.

Milton said that the school district had closed Tunica Elementary School and cut eight teachers because of the loss of student enrollment. He said that the board must look at the possibility of finding other revenues.

After discussion, the board said it would consider looking into the possibility of a proposing a new half-cent sales tax, renewing a 3.75 millage, which supports all employees in salaries and benefits, and proposing a new 2 mill property tax for operations that would replace another 2-mill property tax that is set to expire this year.

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