LIVINGSTON – The Livingston Parish School Board approved pay raises of $1,000 for teachers and $500 classified personnel on Thursday.
But the current fiscal situation of the school district prevented it from adding additional money to those raises at this time, according to Superintendent Joe Murphy.
There was no discussion by board members after board member Buddy Mincey Jr, chairman of the Budget/Goals Committee, read the report of the committee’s meeting Tuesday, when it approved Murphy’s recommendation for the pay raises.
“When reviewing the General Fund Budget, it is obvious that we are beginning the 19-20 budget year with a 2.8M ($2.8 million) dollar deficit,” Murphy told the board Tuesday.
“We reduced the ending budget deficit for 18-19 from 4.23M ($4.2 million) to 2.8M ($2.8 million).
“Furthermore, our non-restricted reserves are at 14.5M ($14.5 million) for 19-20 down from the final budget of 17.3M ($17.3 million) for the ending 18-19 budget year,” he said.
Auditing procedures state that the school district should maintain a 2-month surplus in its non-restricted reserves for emergency purposes, Murphy said.
The current monthly operating expense is approximately $15 million.
The general fund surplus will cover the $2.8 million deficit, leaving $36 million in the general fund.
“After discussion with staff members, it is our opinion that the most prudent and fiscally responsible recommendation would be to implement the legislatively enacted pay raises as given and as we move through the school year revisit the budget to see if additional opportunities arise for further compensation,” Murphy said.
Murphy told the committee he would like to have recommended more supplemental pay, but the financial situation prevents it.
“This district and this board have for years and years and years had a reputation of being good stewards of public money.
“There’s nothing more I would like to have done than supplement these raises, but the fact that the recurring ongoing debt in this district at the beginning of the school year is something I could not do,” he said.
The raises pushed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, were approved by the Legislature in its recent session.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a contract for Justin Wax as assistant principal for Denham Springs High School. His contract will run from August 2019 to June 2022.
The vacancy was created when Assistant Principal Wes Howard was named principal.
• Approved a notice of substantial completion for demolition of Southside Elementary, damaged by the Great Flood of 2016, for Insulation Technologies Inc.
It is now the site of the Denham Springs High School STEM & Robotic Center.
• Approved a change order for $71,811 for repairs to the cafeteria and multi-purpose building at Southside Elementary, the only buildings that could be saved, for Mashon & Associates.
The change order brings the total cost of the project to $293,011.
• Approved a notice of substantial completion for the two buildings.