Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

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.

Government Schools Pinched by Obamacare Statewide

11/17/2014

Federal law forcing schools to scramble for substitutes

Part-timers, substitutes seeing hours cut
By will Sentell

Louisiana public school superintendents are having to scramble for substitute teachers or offer costly health insurance to part-time workers because of the Affordable Care Act.

“It absolutely is an issue,” said Patricia Pujol, superintendent of the Ascension Parish school system and former president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

Worries about running afoul of the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — have forced officials in Ascension Parish to turn the hunt for substitute teachers to a staffing agency to track hours and avoid federal penalties.

Michael Faulk, superintendent of the Central school system, said his district is trying to find new substitutes and he plans to push for legislation next year to increase their ranks.

The Lincoln Parish school district in northeast Louisiana has trimmed weekly hours for 400 substitute teachers and other part-time workers to 28 — two below the cutoff number — and boosted the minimum wage by $2 per hour, to $10.50, because of of the federal health insurance law. The change applies to 400 substitute teachers, maintenance workers, food service employees and paraprofessionals, George Murphy, business manager for the district, said in an email response to questions.

The uproar in education circles, as well as other industries nationwide, stems from a part of the law that requires employers to offer health insurance coverage to part-time workers who are employed 30 hours or more per week, or face federal fines of up to $2,000 per person.

Obamacare Chickens Roost In East Baton Rouge Schools

11/07/2014

Efforts to avoid Obamacare penalties said to be causing ‘havoc’ at East Baton Rouge public schools

by Charles Lussier

Substitute teachers in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools can’t work more than 29 hours a week these days as part of an effort to avoid having to pay federal penalties, starting in 2015, for not providing health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week.

Several School Board members jumped on the issue when it came up unexpectedly Thursday night during an unrelated presentation on recent school performance scores.

Board member Mary Lynch said the 29-hour-a-week cap is causing havoc at schools on Thursdays and Fridays after substitute teachers have reached their limit.

“You use a sub for the first 3½ days of the week, and then you can’t find someone to cover those classrooms,” Lynch said.

Board members Jill Dyason and Vereta Lee also said they received complaints about the 29-hour limit, which they said they were unaware of before. They said they want more information from school administrators about the rule.

Domoine Rutledge, general counsel for the school system, said the school system has elected to limit the hours of substitute teachers in advance of the implementation next year of a federal “employer mandate,” which is part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The per-employee penalty for not providing insurance to workers who clock more than 30 hours a week is $2,000, he said.

Lincoln Schools Construction Projects Get the Money

11/07/2014

Despite an insurance money pinch for part-time personnel, and a roughly 10% reduction in personnel over the past few years, the Lincoln Parish School District appears to have ample money for numerous construction projects for the foreseeable future. At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB), a draft list of capital expenditures for the next five years was reviewed.

See here the document.

Through 2019, nearly $15 million will be spent, with most of the money coming from proceeds of the $20 million bond election that was passed two years ago, and the remainder from the general fund. The shaded projects are the ones funded from the bond money.

Earlier in the meeting, School Improvement Coordinator Donna Doss reported on the Student Performance Scores for 2013-1014.

See here our comprehensive 10/21/14 report on the scores.

Business Manager George Murphy reported that October sales tax collections were above budget.

See here the report.

Two Lincoln School Board Incumbents Defeated

11/04/2014

District 2 – David Ferguson, 62%, Eddie Jones (incumbent), 38%.
District 1 – Susan Wiley, 59%, Mattie Harrison (incumbent), 31%.

Dowling Ahead in District 3 Lincoln School Board

11/04/2014

With 4 of 6 precincts reporting, Curtis Dowling 80%, Mary Harris 20%.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

11/03/2014

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, November 4, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Among the reports to be reviewed are personnel actions and the 9/30/14 fund balances.


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