School Board approves budget, postpones action on school sale

Published 10:03 am Sunday, September 15, 2013

The printed agenda for Thursday’s Bogalusa City School Board meeting started with a presentation by Mayor Charles Mizell on the city’s proposal to purchase the long-vacant Columbia Street Magnet School. But board President Paul Kates reported that Mizell had, instead, made an appointment to speak with Superintendent Toni Breaux and Supervisor of Finance and Business Delores Walker on Monday.

During committee meetings earlier in the week Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Landon Tims told the board that the city would like to purchase the property and turn it into an early childhood development center and an arts-focused community center.

Board members and Breaux said they favored the idea and would like to get the property sold, but they wanted to ensure that the development would not hurt district enrollment.

On Thursday the board did approve eight items, including the 2013-2014 budget, a Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire Audit and a contract with Southeastern Louisiana University for dual enrollment services including freshman English and college algebra.

Board member Brad Williams called the dual enrollment measure “a great thing.”

The district also has dual enrollment with Northshore Technical College, and Breaux said she was recently told participation in that program has more than doubled.

The 2013-2014 general fund budget shows estimated beginning and ending balances of $6,762,465.

That’s down $37,607 from the beginning balance from the prior school year.

The budget includes final construction costs for Bogalusa High School and Central Elementary but also shows a more than $1 million decrease in expenses due to the decrease in employees prompted by school closures.

The board also granted permission to hold a special meeting on Sept. 30 to levy the school district millages, and it changed the October meeting dates to Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 because of the Washington Parish Fair.