OPELOUSAS — Three years ago, the St. Landry Parish school system had a deficit originally projected at $4 million.
On Thursday, the board learned that with the fiscal year that ended June 30, the school district had a tidy surplus of $936,000 in its general fund — and that could rise to as much as $2 million, once all the revenue is received and bills are paid for June.
They got there in large part through a reduction in employee salary expenses due to layoffs and retirements and other cost-cutting measures.
According to the 2013-14 budget presented Thursday, the district received $114 million in general fund revenues and spent $113 million.
After the meeting, Finance Director Tressa Miller said the proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which began July 1, should be ready for the board’s consideration at the regular August meeting.
In another matter, Superintendent Edward Brown said it will be a challenge for the school district to replace the experience of the 79 teachers who retired during the 2013-14 school year.
Those teachers, who were honored at a reception before the start of Thursday’s meeting, represented 2,503.66 cumulative years of experience, Brown said.
“You can go out and hire teachers to replace those who were honored today, but the experience is not going to be there,” Brown told the board.
The board on Thursday also unanimously approved hiring the firm of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Co., of Ville Platte and Lafayette, to perform the district’s annual audit at a cost of $68,180.
According to the Finance Committee report, Miller said that due to a lack of staffing, the district’s current auditor, John S. Dowling Co., of Opelousas, declined to perform the audit.
Miller recommended Kolder, Champagne from three proposals. The other two were from Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick, of Eunice, at $84,000, and Postlethwaite & Netterville, of Lafayette, at $85,000.
The board also unanimously approved expenditures of $137,650 for a roofing project at Arnaudville Elementary, $51,488 to replace a roof at the Port Barre High welding shop and $16,814 to lease a portable building at Lawtell Elementary from ModSpace Service Center of Lafayette. The building will house two classrooms, Assistant Superintendent Joseph Cassimere said, and the price includes transporting the building, installing it then moving it back.