LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish school system is anticipating more growth in several key areas in fiscal year 2016, including a 7 percent increase in revenue from the parish sales tax and an overall enrollment gain of about 150 to 200 students.
That should help the system’s proposed budget, including its $197 million general fund, deal with other rising costs.
Most of the money in the general fund goes toward employee salaries and benefits. The cost of both is expected to go up in the coming year, as the parish hired 10 new teachers, and health insurance costs are on pace to rise 10 to 12 percent, business manager Terry Hughes said.
The state provides most of the money for the general fund — an estimated 81 percent in fiscal year 2016. Once again, the state will not offer the per-pupil increase schools had enjoyed in the past, but Livingston will get a one-year $1.4 million shot in the arm as a sort of compromise, Superintendent John Watson explained.
One unique aspect of the proposed budget is a $1.1 million expenditure on new technology the system hopes will save money in the long run. The system plans to invest in virtual desktop infrastructure that will connect all the classroom computers to a central server, allowing old equipment to run newer programs, Assistant Superintendant Joe Murphy said. Over time, it will extend the life of hardware and save time by allowing IT staff to update software or troubleshoot problems more quickly from a central location.
The proposed financial plan passed the budget and goals committee and will go before the full School Board for discussion and adoption next month. Though the fiscal year started at the beginning of July, school systems do not have to submit their budgets to the state until September to give them time to collect education-specific numbers, like student enrollment.
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