Tuesday, February 19, 2019

School Board passes balanced budget, honors school partners

School Board passes balanced budget, honors school partners
Posted: Sep 13, 2018
Categories: Front Page, Headlines
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AMITE---On Thursday, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board passed a balanced budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The budget document includes a $152 million general fund budget. More than half of the fund is directed toward employee salaries with another 27.2 percent set aside for employee benefits. The remaining 19 percent of the general fund is split among a number of expenditures, including supplies (8.8 percent); purchased property services (4.3 percent); purchased professional services (1.8 percent); other purchased services (2.6 percent); property (0.8 percent); and other objects (0.9 percent).

The overall budget includes $1.334 million for debt service. An additional $967,000 has been earmarked for capital projects across the parish. Among the projects identified for this upcoming year are:
*Roof replacements at Ponchatoula High and Ponchatoula Jr. High;
*Second serving line in the cafeteria for D.C. Reeves Elementary;
*Wastewater treatment facility for the Loranger Schools;
*Bus driveway and parking lot repairs at Champ Cooper Elementary.

School system officials announced Thursday night that while the previous year's budget ended in a deficit, the projected deficit was only half of what was originally forecast. Board member Brett Duncan said he thought that information was especially noteworthy, considering how strapped the district is for additional revenues.

In other business, the board voted to change the district calendar to cancel classes on Tuesday, Nov. 6, which is a federal election date. Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said that the district will use that day as a professional development day, and teachers will be working on additional implementation of the new Tier I curriculum which has been put in place across the parish this semester.

Stilley said the district will exchange the Election Day student holiday with a professional day that was planned for March. That day will now be an instructional day, Stilley said.

Stilley also introduced plans to offer a parish-specific alternate certification plan for non-certified teachers. Stilley said the district will seek BESE's seal of approval on the plan, which will help college graduates who want to teach obtain the credentials they need to be highly qualified certified teachers.

Stilley said the alternative certification program will cost about $4,000 per teacher, and she’s looking for financial institutions that may be able to help candidates find low interest or no interest financing to complete their training. In return, teachers who successfully complete their alternative certification in Tangipahoa will sign multi-year agreements to teach in this parish.

The superintendent also recognized O.W. Dillon Leadership Academy, one of the state’s “high growth” schools. The distinction honors the school for its high rate of improvement on state standardized testing from this past spring. Principal Hugh Wallace said his teachers, staff, and students are due all the credit for reaching this milestone.

“We are not where we want to be; we are not where we plan to be, but we will get where we are going,” Wallace said of his school’s progress on the state accountability testing.

School Board member Walter Daniels applauded the Kentwood elementary school, urging them to "keep doing what you're doing.” Board President Therese Domiano described the efforts in terms of a radio message she’d listened to earlier in the day. She said that speaker referred to it as people who "do ordinary things in an extraordinary way."

"Everything they are doing is building up to improving student achievements,” Domiano said, offering her appreciation for all that is being done to help our students achieve.

The Board also announced the appointment of two new assistant principals. Brandy Daniels is the new assistant principal at Ponchatoula High, and Chasity Jenkins has been named assistant principal at Vinyard Elementary in Ponchatoula.

Vinyard Elementary students opened the Board meeting with a patriotic salute and songs. Supt. Stilley also introduced the district’s new organizational chart which will be posted on the parish website (www.TangiSchools.org). She also recognized three community partners—First Guaranty Bank, Parish President Robby Miller, and Louisiana Art Supply—who have already offered assistance to the district in the new school year. FGB donated $10,000 to purchase a new score board at Sumner High School. Miller and his Tangipahoa Parish road crews have helped prepare parking lots and cleared drainage issues at local schools leading up to the start of classes in August. Louisiana Art Supply provided much-needed and cost-prohibitive art supplies for schools across the parish. She said all three groups offered invaluable service to the district and wanted to publicly recognize them for their efforts to help students.