AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish School Board unanimously approved a nearly $200 million budget Tuesday for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The budget eliminates annual “step raises” and sabbaticals, cuts out extended medical leaves except in certain circumstances, and clamps down on out-of-state travel by employees.

In February, the board declared a financial exigency, or crisis, for the 2011-12 school year.

The budget projects a $5.6 million general fund deficit, and a $13.6 million deficit for all funds, according to documents provided by the School Board.

The budget was publicly available at the School Board office for 15 days prior to Tuesday’s board meeting, as required by state law, said Bret Schnadelbach, the system’s financial chief.

No one spoke during the public hearing on the budget prior to the board’s vote adopting the spending plan.

Other business before the board included:

NIXING INCENTIVE: The board’s Finance Committee voted 3-1 to recommend the full board discontinue perfect attendance incentive for employees for the 2011-12 school year.

The system will disburse about $58,000 in incentive payments to employees for the 2010-11 school year, Schnadelbach said.

Schnadelbach told the committee the system’s general fund would have an anticipated $9 million deficit in 2012-13, and eliminating the payment would help reduce that.

Board member Brett Duncan objected, saying sales tax receipts in the parish were higher, but his motion to table the idea failed for lack of second.

“This is the first of many” cuts that may have to be made, Schnadelbach said.

AG TEACHER HONORED: The board saluted Ponchatoula High School agriculture teacher Alice DuBois for being named educator of the year by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

DuBois said she was nominated for the national award after she won state educator of the year honors. She was notified in July she won the national award.

DuBois received a new Toyota Tundra pickup as part of the NAAE award, Ponchatoula High Principal Danny Strickland said.