Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

Area School Closings Monday

02/22/2015

According to KNOE-TV8

Jackson Parish Court House Closed Monday
Jackson Parish Police Jury Meeting Activity Canceled Monday
Potpourri Book Club – Monroe Activity Canceled Monday
Bethel Christian School Closed Monday
Cedar Creek School Closed Monday
Cornerstone Christian Academy – Jonesboro Closed Monday
DArbonne Woods Charter School Closed Monday
Downsville Charter School Closed Monday
Grambling Lab Schools (K-12) Closed Monday
Grambling State University Closed Monday
Jackson Parish Schools Closed Monday
La Delta Community College (All campuses) Closed Monday
Lincoln Headstart Closed Monday
Lincoln Parish Schools Closed Monday
Louisiana Tech University Closed Monday
Mom’s Helper Day Care – Farmerville Closed Monday
Montessori School of Ruston Closed Monday
New Living Word Closed Monday
Ouachita Christian School Closed Monday
Union Christian Academy Closed Monday
Union Headstart Closed Monday
Union Parish Schools Closed Monday
University of Louisiana at Monroe Closed Monday

Grambling Lab Schools to Apply for Charter Status

02/19/2015

Grambling State University’s (GSU) three laboratory schools – Alma J. Brown Elementary, Grambling Middle Magnet, and Grambling High – intends to apply as a Type 2 Charter school, it was revealed at yesterday’s noontime meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).

From the memo to the board:

On February 2, 2015 we received a Letter of Intent from the Grambling High Foundation. Inc. to submit a proposal to operate a Type 3 charter school in Lincoln Parish which would include the conversion of the Grambling State University Lab schools. Mr. Gordan Ford, President of the Foundation. has informed us that it is the desire of the Foundation to retain all current students at the Lab schools. including those from surrounding districts, and apply as a Type 2 charter. However, in order to do this, according to the District Charter Guide, the applicant must first be denied by the district and then appeal directly to BESE. After speaking with Mr. Ford. we feel that it is in best interest of all parties involved to not proceed in the charter application process as stated and decline to review the proposal.

The board unanimously voted to decline the type 3 application.

Interim GSU President Cynthia Warrick said last fall that the university didn’t have sufficient funding to keep the schools operating.

The high school’s 2014 performance score was a C, while the other two schools were a D.

In other business, the board approved calling a May 2, 2015 election for a Simsboro School District tax. The 2.99 millage would be for ten years and would replace an expiring tax.

See here the memo.

Auditor: School Board Unfunded Group Health Liability Over $120 Million

02/04/2015

The subject of Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) – the gap between promised retiree benefits and what money will be available to pay – came out of the blue at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), as Allen, Green & Williamson’s Amy Tynes presented the district’s annual financial report.

Tynes said that per new requirements of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), the audit must include an accounting of what is actually owed.

Said Tynes, “The GASB standards changed, and said OK, even though you offer these benefits to employees when they retire, we want to see what benefit in dollars are you actually offering.”

Tynes said the deficit in the group health fund, which is used to pay health benefits to present and future retirees, would grow to $121 million, if present trends continue. Also, she said, the funds that pay retirement benefits could be facing a similar situation, and that unfunded amount could be another $100 million or more.

“If it ever got to this point of the school system having to close their books, if you take your investments and you take all your buildings, and you sell them off, you’re not going to have enough money to cover all these promises, so to speak, that you’ve made to your employees in the school system,” Tynes said.

Tynes said this issue was facing many governmental agencies. However, she said, the accounting standards change help quantify the magnitude of the monetary shortfall, so that solutions can be explored.

See here the audit notes pertaining to the issue.

Several cities have gone bankrupt, partly because of generous retiree health and pension benefits. Detroit, MI, is but one the more infamous examples.

During the Building & Grounds Committee meeting, architect Mike Walpole reported on the ongoing projects throughout the district. He reported that almost all were on time and on budget.

Superintendent Danny Bell reviewed the five year capital expenditure plan for the district. He noted that while all the interested parties had input, the plan is subject to modification as circumstances dictate. The expenditures highlighted in yellow represent projects that are funded by recurring taxes, and those in green are for the Ruston District, funded by a bond issue passed a couple of years ago.

See here the plan.

January sales taxes collections were above projections, and Business Manager George Murphy said that year-to-date, collections were about $2 million (24%) above the same period last year.

See here the report.

Finally, several change orders for the construction projects were approved.

See here the memos.

Lincoln School Superintendent Applications to be Taken

02/02/2015

The application process for Superintendent of the Lincoln Parish School District (LPSD) will be considered for approval at Tuesday night’s (2/3/15) meeting of the board, after which applications for the job will be received from Wednesday, 2/4 until Wednesday, 2/25. The new superintendent will be replacing Danny Bell, who is retiring after a forty year career in public education.

See here the agenda.

The proposed contract period is for two years, and will begin 7/1/2015. Compensation is $120 thousand/year and is negotiable. Interviews with the applicants will be conducted in mid-March, with a board vote on the new hire set for April 7.

Memo from Executive Committee
Advertisement for Superintendent

Among the reports to be heard by the board are the personnel report and the district’s yearly audit by Allen, Green & Williamson.

Prior to the 6 PM full board meeting (Central Office, 410 South Farmerville St.), the building & grounds committee will meet at 5:15 PM to review the district’s capital outlay plan and hear updates on the projects now underway.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln School Board Employees Fired for Timecard Abuse

01/26/2015

In a just-released audit of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), it was revealed that two employees of the board were terminated for punching each others time cards. The case was referred to the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney’s Office.

See here the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s (LLA) 1/26/15 press release:

Two employees of the Lincoln Parish School Board have been fired for “clocking in and out for each other,” according to an audit released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

The names of the two former employees were not given in a management letter included in the report.

The audit was performed by the Monroe accounting firm of Allen, Green and Williamson, LLP, for the school board’s fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. Auditors said the finding resulted from the school board’s internal review of employee timecards.

Once aware of the practice, the report for the state auditor said, the school board fired the two and notified its contract auditor, the Legislative Auditor’s office and the district attorney’s office.

The report did not say how long the two engaged in the practice, how many hours they clocked in for one another or how much the practice may have cost the school board.

In their response to the findings, school board officials said they will “continue to monitor” internal controls to make sure they are adequate “and we will make changes when necessary.”

See here Allen, Green & Williamson’s complete audit:

COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2014

Noted Unionville Coffee Group Profiled

01/24/2015
Unionville Saturday Morning Coffee Club

Unionville Saturday Morning Coffee Club

The Unionville Saturday Morning Coffee Club has collected quite an array of political campaign signs to show off at its meeting place in downtown Unionville, LA. Most are from last year’s local and federal elections. Besides providing decoration, the signs also help seal up cracks in the walls of the historic Unionville General Store.

Many area candidates visited with the group last fall while campaigning, and due acknowledgement is warranted, the group insists.

“After all,” said one member of the group, “if (former state representative) Willie Sumlin can get his picture on the front page of the Ruston Daily Leader with a barn full of outdated political signs, we deserve similar recognition.”

The venerable group of BS artisans, political savants, and social commentators meets every Saturday morning at the store.

While the group’s reputation is often said to be unfavorable, that characterization isn’t accurate, some members say.

Said founding member Richard Jones, “We provide a venue where diverse opinion is celebrated.”

Cynics have suggested that the group is merely a collection of misfits that are not welcome in more genteel area coffee clubs, like McDonald’s, Jefferson Corner, or Huddle House.

Supposedly more respectable Lincoln Parish opinion leaders say the loud talk and animated conversation by members of the group is because of highly opinionated personalities, and the participant’s penchant for political repartee.

A more plausible explanation is that most of the attendees suffer from age-related hearing loss.

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Lincoln Sales Tax Santa Turns Grinch

01/08/2015

The Sales Tax Santa that visited Lincoln Parish governments last month is running out of toys to hand out, according to monthly sales tax figures reported at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).

School district sales tax collections for December, 2014 were up only 19% ($218 thousand) over the same month in 2013. That compares to the November, 2014 figures that showed an 80% increase ($888 thousand) over November 2013.

See here the tax report.

To be sure, the report is nowhere near a lump of coal, or bag of switches, as overall collections for the first six months of fiscal year 2014-2015 shows a 21% increase over the same period a year ago, or about $1.5 million more.

What this means is the tentatively promised extra bonus (15th check) might not be as plump as the other two bonus checks handed out to district employees.

In other business, the board re-elected Otha Anders (District 10) and Joe Mitcham (District 6) President and Vice-President, respectively.

Also, the board approved Superintendent Danny Bell’s request for a three month contract extension to early October.

Bell Seeks LPSB Contract Extension Amid Maneuvering for Replacement

01/05/2015

Retiring Lincoln Parish School District Superintendent Danny Bell wants to stay on the job for about three months beyond his previously announced retirement date of 6/30/2015.

Bell wrote in a memo to the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) that the extra time would be used to help the new superintendent become acclimated during the transition.

See here the memo.

The request will be considered at the Tuesday, January 6 meeting of the board, set for 6 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

While the formal search for a new superintendent hasn’t begun, the rumor mill has generated several names that may want the job.

The name with probably the most favorable mentions is former Ruston High School (RHS) Principal Mike Milstead. Milstead is currently the district’s Chief Academic Officer.

Another former RHS principal, Kenny Henderson, may apply, it is rumored. Henderson was most recently Executive Director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). He left that job last October when his contract wasn’t renewed.

Lincoln Parish’s Assistant Superintendent Mary Null’s name has been mentioned as a possible applicant.

In other business, the board will hear reports on the district’s personnel changes for the month, and its financial status. See here the documents.

Personnel
Fund Balances

Also, the board will consider a request to float another $5 million bond sale for the ongoing Ruston School District construction. This is the second phase of what will be a total of $21 million in loans.

See here the memo.

The board will consider scheduling a tax election public hearing at the 2/18/15 board meeting. The Simsboro District’s 3.12 mil maintenance and operation tax will expire at the end of 2015, and an election will likely be called to reimpose that tax.

See here the memo.

LPSB Sales Tax Collections Jump

12/03/2014

Christmas came early for the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) at last night’s meeting, and if the trend in sales tax collections holds up – Business Manager George Murphy emphasized IF – school board employees could get an extra bonus check this school year.

November sales tax receipts came in at slightly above $2 million, 80% greater than the same month last year. For the first five months of fiscal year 2014-2015, sales tax collections are about $1.3 million ahead of a year ago. Murphy said the increase is due to the parish’s thriving oil and gas exploration and production activity.

About half the local money that funds operation of the district come from sales taxes, with the other half from property taxes. Those two local sources in turn make up about half of the total revenue (about $70 million for this fiscal year) for the district. The balance comes from Louisiana’s Minimum Foundation Program and federal sources.

See here the November tax report.

Murphy said if the trend continues for the next several months, there would be a recommendation for an additional employee bonus payment, in addition to the two (commonly called 13th and 14th checks) that have historically been awarded. Sales taxes are dedicated to employee salaries and benefits, per the propositions as they were voted upon.

Said Murphy, “If, big word here, IF this continues for the rest of this year, and if we have like a groundswell of the amount of money coming in, then more than likely what our recommendation would be to the board would be to do something similar to what was done ten years ago.”

About ten years ago, the district received a significant settlement on a tax lawsuit and paid an employee bonus with the proceeds.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

12/01/2014

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

Here is the agenda.

Among the reports to be heard will be personnel and October fund balances.


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