School Board adopts budget

Aaron E. Looney

The Ascension Parish School Board voted during its regular meeting Tuesday to accept a $176.9 million budget for the 2008-09 school year, but not before adding $400,000 back to the budget for maintenance projects.

The budget - which runs through June 30, 2009 - shows an increase from last year's $154 million budget and a deficit of approximately $5.7 million, according to documentation.

However, the district will be bringing in an estimated $10.3 million surplus from the current year, once final audit information is completed.

Board member Troy Gautreau Sr. made the motion to add the $400,000 back to the maintenance department's budget in order to fund needed projects. Gautreau said that during budget discussions, the maintenance department originally saw $3 million cut from its budget.

Gautreau also included in his motion that the board form a budget review committee to meet quarterly and examine the school district's funds in an effort to prioritize funding.

In other news, acting Superintendent of Schools Donald Songy told the board during its Facilities Maintenance Committee meeting that the board could accept an act of donation for a 15-acre school site in the proposed Orange Grove planned unit development as soon as its Aug. 5 meeting in Donaldsonville.

The site is located of Hwy. 22 south of Sorrento near Burnside. It is the sixth and final new school set to be constructed in the next two years, five of which will be funded through a tax passed by parish voters in 2005.

The board also accepted Songy's recommendations for three administrative posts throughout the district - Rachel Braud Lato as the new supervisor of special education, Jeremy Muse as a new assistant principal at Central Elementary School and Kim Puckett-Germany as a new assistant principal at Ascension Alternative School.