Collections of sales taxes in Lincoln Parish for July, 2016 were significantly lower than the money collected in the same month of 2015, Business Manager George Murphy told last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).
For July, 2016, collections were about $1.6 million, vs $2.7 million in July, 2015. This year’s number is, however, higher than July, 2014’s $1.3 million and July, 2013’s $1.2 million.
See here the tax report.
Murphy said that sales tax collections have always been volatile, and the abnormally high collections over the past several years has been due to extensive oil and gas exploration and production activity in Lincoln Parish. That activity has slowed dramatically over the past year, Murphy said.
But, Murphy added, the district’s fund reserves have built up recently, and should be adequate to handle revenue shortfalls. For example, the district did not pay a “15th check” for 2016, as was done in 2015.
Said Murphy, “Over the years, we have built up a $35 million fund balance. Why did we build up $35 million fund balance? Because, we knew this day would come.”
Indeed, taxpayers shouldn’t shed too many tears over the district’s financial issues. The revised 2015-2016 budget shows total expenditures of almost $84 million. Ten years ago, in 2005-2006, that total was $51 million.
During that ten-year period, the district’s enrollment has remained relatively static, averaging about 6500 students.
Earlier in the meeting, District 7’s Trott Hunt asked Superintendent Mike Milstead about the district’s policy on allowing home-schooled students to participate in extra-curricular sports.
Asked Hunt, “Do we allow the home-study student’s to participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities?”
Milstead said that Lincoln does not, due to insurance and accountability issues.
Asked if the district had a written policy on the issue, Milstead replied that no such document had been prepared.
Interestingly, research reveals that several states have laws that require home-schooled students be allowed to participate. Tim Tebow, a college Heisman winner, was home-schooled and played football at a Florida high school.