School Board reports higher enrollment
By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY - During the Acadia Parish School Board’s meeting, the routine items were an opportunity to shed some light on the board’s financial situation.
The board announced that they will be receiving money from Education Jobs Fund Program for this fiscal year, $2,184,013 to be exact.
The funds are based on multifactor productivity (MFP). They are also ranked 18th in the state for funds received, which has 69 city-parish districts. City-parish districts receiving more than Acadia are Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Vernon parishes. The state received $137,604,144.
Acadia could receive more funds as their MFP numbers have risen this year. The parish saw an increase in enrollment overall, and specifically from students transferring from private schools.
The board reported that the parish saw an 87 percent increase in enrollment of students entering public schools from private schools this year.
Last year the school board had 146 new students from private schools, this year, the number is up to 273.
The board intends to discuss the Federal Education Fun (EduJobs) Program in greater detail at a later date, but Superintendent John E. Bourque did say that he expects the money to be used in a variety of ways, including as part of the school board’s benefits package.
“We were fortunate to receive the EduJobs funds, but belt-tightening is still needed because these funds are only for this year,” said Bourque.
The school board also reported a drop in sales tax revenue. The drop in revenue has been met with little surprise, especially in the current economy, but that doesn’t mean the board has lost hope.
In September of 2009, the tax revenue saw a 5.83 percent decrease, but the 2009-10 fiscal year saw a 10.19 percent increase. Thus, the September 2010 decrease of 1.6 percent may not be as bad as feared. However, the 2010-11 fiscal year is in the double digit negative numbers with a 15.75 percent decrease thus far.
For now, the board will have to take a wait-and-see approach to the remainder of the fiscal year’s sales tax revenue.