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|School board over budget|
Rising construction costs at several schools have driven the Franklin Parish School Board over budget by about $1 million, but the extra bills can be managed, Supt. Lanny Johnson said Monday evening at the group's regular agenda meeting.
"The expenditures for the renovations at the four schools put us over the budget more than what we anticipated," said Johnson, "we knew when we accepted the bid for the high school that we would be over our allotted budget. At the end of each year, there is approximately $300,000 left over in the general fund and we can borrow against that to repay the debt or we can take it out of our fund balance of about $4 million."
The board will take up the over-budget issue at its regular meeting next week.
Two representatives from the Recovery School District are scheduled to meet with Supt. Johnson and staff on Thursday in Winnsboro, after members of BESE voted to issue Franklin Parish a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week for Winnsboro Elementary, rather than the feared state control. Paul Vallas, who oversees the Recover School District and Lavonne Sheffield will discuss the stipulations set forth in the MOU.
"The MOU was the best thing for us," said Johnson. "They will formulate a written plan for us to abide by, and now we will have to see what they are going to require."
Board members discussed possible strategies for recruiting certified teachers for Winnsboro Elementary. The issue over a salary increase and overall morale of all teachers in the system were topics of concern.
"The bottom line is, if we are going to save that school, we need experienced, qualified teachers in the classrooms," said Johnson. "We don't want to diminish the morale, but something has to be done."
After a state survey of risk assessment, Franklin Parish earned a place in the "no action" category; meaning, there were no internal or external factors prohibiting the process of the survey and no action would be taken against the board.
The Level II funding from the Minimum Foundation could be distributed to teachers in Franklin Parish who qualify as early as August of 2009. The funds are constitutionally protected through the Minimum Foundation, though certain criteria must be met before a teacher can qualify for the raise.
Other items on the agenda to be discussed at the next board meeting include repairs to school restrooms, an updated cell phone policy for students and faculty, and the recognition of the Guice Award recipient. The regular meeting of the Franklin Parish School Board will be held on Monday, Feb. 2 in the media center auditorium.