NEW IBERIA — The Iberia Parish School System will finish the year with $1 million in its general fund the School Board learned Wednesday.
In March, the system had a budget deficit of more than $3 million.
The system had been hit with higher insurance and retirement costs and suffered from reduced income from sales taxes and state minimum foundation program money, Superintendent Dale Henderson said Wednesday.
After cutting costs and reducing expenses, the school system’s staff was able to make up the deficit by the time the fiscal year ended June 30.
Henderson said they expect next year’s general fund budget to be similar to this year — about $100 million.
Henderson credited his staff with the work and said it was hard to make the surplus happen in hard economic times.
Patrick Segura, parish tax collector, said sales tax collections were down 5.9 percent for June when compared to the same month last year.
In June 2011, the school system collected $1,995,149 and in June 2010 it collected $2,078,102.
Segura said the trend did not differ much for the majority of the collections that occurred throughout the year.
He said he considered the 2010-11 sales tax collection year to be a flat with sales tax collections only slightly above last year.
Board member Robbie LeBlanc suggested the School Board not use a projected 2 percent increase in sales tax collections when they plan expenditures in the coming year. He said a slow economy is hurting them, with little help from the state.
“We are in crisis,” LeBlanc said.
Also during the meeting, the board voted unanimously to increase spending on Center Street Elementary School’s additions and renovations by $165,000.
Architect Paul Allain said the primary reason for the increase was so they can comply with fire marshal regulations to install sprinkler systems and fire walls in the cafeteria.
Buillard Construction of St. Martinville was awarded the budgeted $1.7 million contract in June.
Also during the meeting, the board unanimously voted to adopt a new meeting format called the consent agenda.
It will allow pre-selected agenda items to be grouped together and voted on at once with no debate or discussion, Henderson said.
Members have the option to pull items from the consent agenda before and at the beginning of the meeting to be discussed if needed.
The new rules go into effect at the Aug. 3 meeting.