The Vernon Parish School system is on a pace to end its fiscal year with a minuscule General Fund “profit”.
In his mid-year report to the board Tuesday, Finance Director Tim Ward said the currently projected margin on the $75 million budget is $55,000.
That’s the equivalent of a household with $50,000 annual income reaching mid-year with a projected year-end checking balance of $35. The board did begin the fiscal year in July with a carryover Fund Balance of more than $6 million.
Ward told the board that the General Fund budget scrub of the past few years continues as the Central Office looks for ways to maximize dollars’ use.
Personnel expense constitutes the bulk of the General Fund budget — in the neighborhood of $60 million for instructional and support staff. Asst. Supt. Michael Kay earlier told the board that every approaching vacancy is studied as to its absolute need.
A consequence of that studying is a reduction over time of the number of personnel slots in the system.
Ward said that at mid-year, as is usually the case, revenues are running ahead of expenses, a situation that levels out in the second half.
He did note the possibility of getting more Minimum Foundation Program funding than currently scheduled from the state in February, depending on student population numbers. The current projection is about $100,000. But, he said, there’s an outside chance of that going as high as $400,000.
On a budget-related matter, the board approved a plan to pay head coaches of major sports for work they are already doing during summer months, capped at two weeks.
In other matters, Board President Steve Woods thanked the board “for the honor of representing this School Board” as he turned the gavel over to Angie Davis, whose presidency begins in January. She expressed appreciation for the board’s vote of confidence. Her vice president will be Vernon L. Travis, Jr.
Board members adopted a number of policy changes, all required by 2017 state legislation, including one that stipulates men and women driving school buses are no longer bus drivers, but are bus operators.
Kay earlier told the board about updates and reviews of school security and crisis management plans.
“It’s an annual look at what we are doing. The biggest concern is being passive,” he said, noting some of the crisis management plans are outdated and need review and adjustment. Specifics of what and where are, for obvious reasons, kept close to the chest.