PPSB braces for budget deficit
Plaquemines Parish Schools are making strategic cuts in anticipation of rising salary and benefit costs, but the school board caught a bit of a break at its Sept. 10 meeting.
Plaquemines Parish School Board Finance Director Ronald White presented the board with a budget for the 2019-20 school year (which passed unanimously moments later) that anticipates property tax to the school system holding steady over the next year and a cautiously optimistic 6 percent increase in sales tax, which equates to approximately $1,000,000. However, based on expenditures that include big-ticket upgrades to athletic facilities at Phoenix High School and Belle Chasse High School, White predicts a $3.4 million deficit in the coming year.
Fortunately, PPSB has a robust fund balance built with budget surpluses from past years that White said will remain above $30 million even after the $3.4 million deficit for 2019-20 is subtracted. But Superintendent Denis Rousselle is currently in the process of trimming positions through attrition to balance out the rising cost of payroll, saying that slowly tightening the school system’s belt will avoid a repeat of 2017 when 37 employees had to be laid off and another 56 positions cut through attrition to make up for a $6.4 million deficit.
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