Business Affairs Supervisor Lee Waskom addressed the School Board at its March 4 regarding the need he has seen for a grant writer and a grant administrator and a property manager so the district can identify what land it actually owns.
The board currently has an employee that could assist with grant writing for an additional stipend, but an administrator would still be needed.
The hope is that the grant positions would hope that this would always be self-funded. The property manager will only get paid when they make money for the school district.
There’s 13 acres in Lena that’s inside Natchitoches Parish that has timber on it that Waskom said he didn’t even know existed. Joe Cooper manages timber property for the district, but there’s actually a lot of other property that the district owns that could be leased out or in some way rented out to a farmer.
Waskom could extend duties to Cooper for hunting leases at $7 an acre. He would only require $1 from that and the school board will get the rest. They also discovered through talking that someone is harvesting timber off the land the School Board owns in Lena. The board also owns land in Black Lake and 640 acres of Clear Lake. There’s also acreage owned by the School Board in Grant, DeSoto, Rapides Parishes.
“We’re going to want to have a complete understanding of what’s going on in our parish with our property,” said Waskom. “I just need to have somebody other than myself driving around the parish and observing what’s going on with our property and even knowing where it all is.”
Waskom said he is aware of 16 property tracts currently owned by the School Board, but he’s working with Clerk of Court David Stamey to find all the land that the board owns.
Taking stock of what the district owns and seeing what could be leased for hunting tracts, farming and other uses would all be new found money that would help the budget. Waskom said he will present some options at the board’s April meeting.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Waskom, who said this comprehensive list of properties is something Board Vice President Reba Phelps has been asking him for.