School Board talks budget

NPSB-Harris at Board Meeting 02-08-18

When it came time for the budget update at the School Board committee meeting Feb. 6, board member Steven Harris broached the fact that there hasn’t been a balanced budget for the Natchitoches Parish School District in 4 years.

The budget was negative $357,000 in 2013-14, negative $3.8 million in 2014-15, and negative $2.1 million in 2015-16. Each year the budget is zeroed out by dipping into reserves.

“I’ve been told the budget was balanced, but we don’t” said Harris. “If this happened in the corporate world, the CEO would be fired. From this point on we need a true balanced budget. We need to stop spending more than we take in. We need to stop misleading the people. We need to stop backfilling. In accounting, where I’m from, they call that ‘fast and loose.’”

Tommy Melder said he was fully aware they were using reserves. He didn’t like it, but that it’s the position the state put the district in when it required millions for teacher retirement pay.

But there’s no more reserves and the budget can’t be zeroed out anymore. Supervisor of Business Affairs Richard Foshee said the actual expediters are trending below budget. “It’s close but we should come in under budget,” he said.

Patricia Roque said that for the last 5 years the board has been presented with a balanced budget and were told each time that if spending wasn’t changed the amount would have to come from the reserve to balance it.

“The accounting department has been letting the board know every year we’ve been going in the hole,” she said.

Superintendent Dale Skinner said the district overstaffed to raise the district’s score from a ‘C’ to a ‘B.’ Then cuts had to be made and people complained.

“You [the board] sat here and let us spend the money,” he said.

Emille Metoyer said that for the past 4 years he’s been voting against the budget. He voted against spending the money to open the Jr. High, which Skinner said is one of the best things the district has done.

“We can’t even get people to vote for a tax to improve schools for the kids in their neighborhoods,” Skinner said. “If the faculty, staff and employees would vote, we could get a tax passed. When it fails, it means we’re not dedicated to the students in our district.”



7 thoughts on “School Board talks budget

  1. His last statement is why teachers and students are leaving the parish and choose to attend schools in other parishes. Parents are moving and the tax base is going with them.

  2. Why Do We Have Teacher’s Superintendent Running The School System. They Know Nothing About Running A Business. We need To Change The Rule You Have To Be A Educator To Be Superintendent. And Hire Someone Who Know’s How to Buy In All Area’s Know How To Put People In Charge That Has Experience In Running A Business.

  3. sad situation by none other but corrupt govt, officials playing with our children–in d old days they would have tarred and feathered–today they want a raise–

  4. For that quote alone he should be fired but the idea that these so called fiscal hawks are complaining about deficit spending is laughable because we all know it’s about who is spending the money and not what the money is spent on. As the tax base in Natchitoches shrinks and the population of those that pay nearly zero taxes to fund the schools increases…..well this fiscal train wreck in inevitable and the only answer will be to raise taxes and that will happen the day the Superintendent is …………

  5. I will say that the Curriculum Team is awesome and deserves all of the credit for the increase in improvements! Not the Superintendent nor the board!

  6. I find it amazing that the Superintendent is blaming the board for over spending when he is the chief fiscal agent. Decisions have been made in the last 10 years that have proven to be disastrous! Several of us who served on a community committee to look for ways to save money. We recommended that there be an independent audit by the legislative auditors office. In an open forum, i asked the board president and superintendent to commit to the recommendation, only to be rejected three times. For transparency sake why would you refuse our suggestion? Why has the board turned down low bidders in favor of out of parish higger bids? Why does the board continuing paying operational expences for unoccupied buildings? Why does the board, in non-compliance to federal law, allowing students to cross parish lines and loosing hundteds of thousands in MFP monies? Then to add insult to injury the Superintendent wanted a 18k raise.
    The waste in construction over runs and relocations has cost the system millions of dollars.

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