Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

Shadoin: “There’s not enough money to go around”

09/07/2016

Voicing a lament common from governments at all levels since time immemorial, Louisiana State Representative Rob Shadoin (District 12) told last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), “There’s not enough money to go around folks, and I know there’s some candidates that are spewing ‘well we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.’ I disagree with that.”

He also decried the partisan atmosphere in Baton Rouge thus: “I saw early, early, the breaking out of certain people in both parties that seem to be more loyal and pledged allegiance to an ideology of a political party rather than Louisiana first.”

The legislature last spring enacted several new taxes, over the objection of the more conservative house members.

Shadoin voted mostly for the taxes, he said, because the alternative cuts would have been too drastic. He seemed also to be disillusioned with the process, saying “I think we age in dog years down there. I wanted to come home.”

Next year’s session would be tough, Shadoin said, because the new taxes have a sunset provision and will have to re-voted again in the future.

Also at the meeting was Rep. Patrick Jefferson (District 11) who indicated that he would have voted for even more taxes.

Said Jefferson, “Many people said that we took several tough votes this past session. Well, you can repeat this, I didn’t take one tough vote.”

Shadoin and Jefferson were on the agenda to give a legislative update.

In school board business, the board voted to unanimously adopt the proposed 2016-2017 budget. In response to a question from this reporter, Business Manager George Murphy said that about 75 to 80 percent of the $80 million yearly is spent on payroll.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Null reported on the opening of school, and noted that total enrollment is right at 6 thousand students. That represents a decrease of almost 400 students that are now attending Grambling Laboratory Charter School.

The decrease in students will result in a decrease in Minimum Foundation Plan (MFP) funding from the State of Louisiana.

Lincoln School Board to Adopt “Rolled Back” Taxes

09/05/2016

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will vote Tuesday (September 6) to adopt property tax millages for tax year 2016 that have been “rolled back,” if the board follows the recommendation of the District’s Business Manager George Murphy and Superintendent Mike Milstead.

See here the memo.

The board’s Finance Committee will first meet at 5:45 PM, and review the upcoming fiscal year’s budget.

Agenda
Budget Memo
Beginning Budget (FY 7/1/2016-6/30/2017)

The full board will meet at 6:00 PM.

Agenda

Several reports will be heard, including:

Personnel
Financial

The meeting will be at the Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Stret.

Property Tax Issues Surface

08/23/2016

Some Lincoln Parish taxpaying property owners are beginning to grumble a bit, now that notices are hitting mailboxes showing some assessments increasing 15% or more since the last statewide reassessment in 2012.

Two weeks ago, Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor Sheila Bordelon put out this news release on the procedure for appealing your assessment:

The property values are open for public inspection each year for a period of fifteen days. The 2016 period is from August 15-August 29. All property owners have the right to inquire should they think the market value placed upon their property by the Assessor is in error. Owners should contact the office prior to August 29, 2016 if you have questions. Louisiana law provides that valuation appeals after this date shall not be considered by the Assessor.

So if you want to appeal, you have until next Monday, August 29 to do it.

Physical Address: 307 N Homer St., Ruston, LA 71270
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1218, Ruston, LA 71273
Phone: 318.251.5140
Fax: 318.251.5142
Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.

If you cannot come to terms, there is an appeal process whereby you can present your case to the local Board of Review. In Lincoln Parish, the Police Jury sits as the board of review. The meeting where you can present your case is set for Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 PM, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Some helpful data can be found at Nolo.com:

Useful Evidence for Your Appeal

In pursuing your appeal, several types of evidence may be useful, including:

A recent appraisal of your home.
A contractor’s report showing repair work needed on your home and how much the work will cost.
Documents showing actual sales prices in your neighborhood, and photographs of homes similar to yours, together with a list of their sales prices or taxable values.

At the hearing, you’ll probably have just five or ten minutes to present your case, so be succinct. Bring extra copies of your documentary evidence so that each hearing officer has a copy. Try to include a chart showing comparative sales prices and taxable values. You may want to arrive early so that you observe – and learn from – other people’s hearings.

You can appeal the local Board’s decision to the Louisiana Tax Commission. File your appeal with the Commission within 10 days after the local Board’s written decision is postmarked, or hand delivered to you.

Next, there is an appeal process to the Louisiana Tax Commission.

Here are the forms.

Finally, there is the ultimate check against taxes: vote against them whenever they’re on the ballot, and actively campaign with your neighbors, family, and friends to defeat them.

As we stated when we first began writing this newsblog over seven years ago, government at all levels never, ever does without.

Government can and does take care of itself – it has always prospered and grown, regardless of the local economy and the financial health of the citizens who fund its existence.

Sales Tax Collections Wane @ School Board

08/03/2016

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.

Lincoln School Board Tuesday

08/01/2016

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, August 2, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

07/10/2016

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, July 12, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Schools Capital Outlay Reviewed

06/08/2016

Lincoln School District Superintendent Mike Milstead said at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board’s (LPSB) Building & Grounds Committee that planned Ruston High School (RHS) special education facility improvements will receive increased priority shortly. About $ 1/2 million in improvements is budgeted, according to the district’s capital outlay plan.

Said Milstead, “That something that’s an issue that for me would be a top priority.” He added that the plan will be updated and presented to the board later this summer.

See here the Capital Outlay Plan.

The items in green are those funded from a $20 million bond issue approved by voters in 2013, while those highlighted in yellow are projects funded from general fund recurring revenues.

The committee also approve a $1.6 million project at RHS that will add classrooms for the New Tech program, add soccer facilities, replace the auditorium roof, and replace the girl’s gym floor.

See here the documents.

During the meeting of the full board, Business Manager George Murphy said that over the past several months, sales tax revenues had plateaued, but total fiscal year collections were considerably higher than the previous year.

See here the report.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

06/06/2016

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, June 7, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

The Building & Grounds Committee will meet at 5:30 PM.

See here the agendas and related meeting information.

Dubach School Grades 6, 7, 8 Moving to Ruston

04/06/2016

Dubach School grades 6, 7, and 8 will be moved to the Ruston School District for the 2016-2017 school year, it was revealed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB). Currently, Dubach serves grades K through 8.

Lincoln Parish Schools Superintendent Mike Milstead said the move makes financial sense.

Said Milstead, “Our plan is to bring those six graders to I. A. Lewis. We’ll bring the other fifty kids, approximately, to Ruston Junior High.

The move will involve about 75 children, and about 10 teachers.

Milstead added, “All the faculty members at Dubach will have positions otherwise. It will diminish the number of employees we have in the district by approximately ten, saving us about $600 thousand a year.”

Plans are to add pre-K at Dubach, Milstead said.

Asked to clarify the money savings, it was said that even though no personnel would be laid off, the savings would come from retirements and other normal attrition, and then replacing those positions with the Dubach personnel.

Milstead also was asked if plans to completely close Dubach have been discussed, to which he said they had not.

“I have had none of those discussions. We have viable numbers at Dubach,” Milstead said.

Enrollment at Dubach should be about 125 to 150 pupils next year, he noted.

Dubach “Grade Configuration” to Change

04/01/2016

An agenda item for next Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) indicates that further consolidation of Dubach School is likely for the 2016-2017 school year.

According to unconfirmed rumors, several of the upper grades will move to the Ruston School District. Currently, Dubach serves grades K-8.

The move comes three years after the closure of Hico Elementary and the relocation of those students to Dubach, and the reassignment of Dubach’s grades 9-12 to Ruston High School.

Recently, approximately $1.5 million was spent at Dubach for a new library and additional classrooms.

The board meeting is set for 6:00 PM, Tuesday, April 4, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.