OPELOUSAS — St. Landry Parish Schools Superintendent Michael Nassif will be approaching the School Board in July about declaring financial exigency — in other words, a dire need to cut expenses — for the school district.
Acting financial director Tressa Miller told the School Board’s Finance Committee on Monday that the district experienced a $4.62 million general fund deficit at the end of May.
The district is projected to have a $1.248 million general fund deficit when the 2010-11 fiscal year ends June 30, according to a report presented to the committee.
Nassif said the state requires districts to develop financial plans as proposed remedies in such situations.
“It (the exigency plan) is something that we need as a prepared remedy. … It’s nothing more,” Nassif said.
There are no plans at this time to dismiss teachers or employees due to the district’s anticipated deficit, Nassif said.
The change in pupil-teacher ratios — adding more students for each teacher — as well as not replacing some employees who have retired have allowed the district to avoid further financial problems, he said.
Although he provided no specifics, Nassif said St. Landry’s operating finances will be curtailed during the fiscal year beginning July 1 because of an anticipated $3.2 million increase in the district’s share of employee retirement expenses and an undetermined amount in legal fees for a plaintiffs’ attorney who handled a 47-year desegregation case settled in March.
Nassif said public school districts statewide are having to absorb retiree payment increases.
In May, Opelousas attorney Marion Overton White, who represented the plaintiffs in the original desegregation lawsuit against the district in 1965, filed a motion in federal court seeking $9.8 million in legal fees.
Nassif told the committee Monday that board attorney Gerard Caswell is filing answers to White’s motion and he expects a settlement by both parties in November.