School Board to review budget Thursday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – After finally reaching an agreement with the St. John Association of Educators regarding ways to save the school system money while simultaneously saving union members from proposed layoffs, the School Board will convene again Thursday to examine the proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The budget will be introduced for review purposes only Thursday. The board will vote on the issue at the next School Board meeting, scheduled for Aug. 19.

The administration originally introduced a financial plan in June, but that plan included a reduction in force. The board voted to table the matter until alternative methods for erasing the budget deficit could be discussed.

The district must approve a balanced budget by September to prevent state intervention.

Another item making a return appearance on the agenda concerns the possible reduction of board member compensation during the upcoming fiscal year.

When the budget deficit initially came to light, board member Russ Wise moved that board members voluntarily reduce their salaries to just $1 per month during the 2010-11 year, but the matter was tabled so more research could be done.

At Wise’s request, the item was put back on the agenda for last week’s meeting, but when Wise realized he would be out of town for the July 29 meeting, he hand-delivered letters to Superintendent Courtney Millet and Board President Gerald Keller asking that the matter be deferred until his return.

Despite the request, board member Keith Jones moved to remove the item from the table. He then moved the board take no action on the matter, a motion that passed with a vote of eight yeas, two nays and one absent.

“I’m a little disappointed they decided to do anything in my absence,” said Wise. “I still think we need to lead from the front.”

Also on Thursday, Director of Human Resources Leigh Ann Beard will present the board with the administration’s recommendation to fill the position of educational diagnostician.

Two educational diagnosticians have retired, creating a need in the district’s special education department. The district’s recent financial woes have dictated that only one of the vacant positions be filled. Beard will recommend Cherisse Steib for the position.

Finally, the board will vote on the 2010-11 Pupil Progression Plan. Lanette Perrin introduced the plan at the July 29 meeting.

The meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria at 1600 Highway 44 in Reserve.