Board to vote on fat budget

Aaron E. Looney

The Ascension Parish School Board reviewed its proposed 2008-09 general; fund budget July 1, in advance of a public hearing on the matter at its July 15 meeting.

In a Committee of the Whole meeting held after its regular meeting at the School Board Central Office, board members poured over a proposed $176.6 million budgeted in expenditures, with proposed revenues totaling just under $172 million.

That reflects about a 14 percent increase in expenses from last year's budget. The actual amount spent in 2007-08 is not available because the fiscal year ended June 30.

Director of Business Services Kathy Hebert reminded the board that the proposed budget includes the 5 percent raise it approved for teachers as well as a one-time teacher raise of $1,019 from the state.

The system hired 22 new teachers and numerous other administrators and staff members, mostly to staff two new schools set to open in August.

The budget also anticipates $171.9 million in revenue, an increase of nearly 12 percent.

Board members also discussed possibly implementing a supplemental budget to facilitate maintenance projects that were cut from the proposed budget.

About 61 percent of the total expenses in the proposed budget is designated for instructional costs.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed general fund budget during its July 15 meeting at the Parish Courthouse East in Gonzales. After the hearing, the board will then vote on the budget.