Project funds shifted; tax issue touted
Among a litany of routine business occupying the St. Mary Parish School Board ahead of its Oct. 22 property tax renewal election was the budgeting of unspent funds from a Franklin High gym floor project.
The $32,000 in District I Maintenance Committee money was split Thursday by unanimous board vote with $15,000 going for track equipment at FHS and $17,000 for future flooring projects at the school.
Also approved by the board Tuesday was a list of resignations, new hires, appointments and the voluntary transfer of a GED teacher at Berwick High School to Franklin Junior High School, where she will teach science.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Donald Aguillard took the opportunity at the board meeting to explain what benefits the renewal of the board’s property tax will have on the school system.
The 11.18 mill tax, on the books since 1988, generates $6.3 million annually for teachers’ pay and benefits. Failure to renew the tax for another 10 years would “trigger a catastrophic event” in this parish, Aguillard said.
To make up for the loss, either 18 percent of teachers (equating to 127 positions) would have to be eliminated, or teachers would have to take an 11 percent pay cut across the board.
That amount is equivalent to a $357 per month cut in salary for a teacher holding a bachelor’s degree at step one of the system’s salary schedule.
In other fiscal action, sales tax collections for the year total slightly under $4.1 million. That’s 5 percent below budget predictions and 6.1 percent below where collections were at the same point last year.
However, the September collections showed a rebound from previous months. At $1.3 million, collections for the month were 2.3 percent above budget predictions and 1 percent above September 2010.
In other action, the board:
—Passed resolutions proclaiming National School Lunch Week Oct. 10-14, School Bus Safety Week Oct. 17-21, National Principals’ Month in October, Red Ribbon Week Oct. 21-30, and Franklin’s Harvest Moon Festival Oct. 29.
—Gave permission to advertise for bids for custodial supplies.
—Approved a field trip for J.S. Aucoin Elementary School (Amelia) students to John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Murphy Pontiff and Ginger Griffin were absent from Thursday’s meeting.