Lafayette

Jul 29, 2014 8:56 PM by Tina Macias

LPSB rejects latest budget proposal, faces $6.1M shortfall

The Lafayette Parish School Board rejected a budget proposal from Superintendent Pat Cooper tonight that would have balanced the budget but also would have restored some cuts the board has previously made and dipped into the board's rainy-day fund.

Although tonight's meeting was the first budget meeting in over a week, the meeting lasted about an hour, because only two items were on the agenda -- Cooper's proposed budget and a budget timeline.

That got criticism from board members who said they expected to consider appeals to deep cuts they made to departmental budgets earlier this month.

Only Mark Cockerham and Kermit Bouillion voted for the proposed budget. Hunter Beasley, Rae Trahan, Mark Babineaux, Tehmi Chassion and Tommy Angelle voted against. Shelton Cobb and Greg Awbrey were absent.

The budget shortfall now stands at $6.1 million. That's less than the more than $7 million it was at last week, because $1.2 million in additional state revenue was factored into the budget.

The $6.1 million shortfall does not account for more than $5 million in additional departmental cuts the board made last week. CFO Billy Guidry said the board needs to consider department head appeals before factoring in those cuts.

The board got a list of appeals today, which they will consider on Thursday.

The appeals, if all approved, would restore more than 92 percent of the board's previous cuts, including $1.8 million for new textbooks; $178,633 to fund the Community Collaboration and Partnership department; and most of the cuts the board made to materials and supplies, cell phone stipends, mileage and conferences.

The next budget meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thrusday.

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