GONZALES — Ascension Parish School Board members looked at proposed budgets for the district's technology and maintenance departments this week as part of the budget-making process for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The budgets for both departments are tight, in light of sales tax revenues in the parish slowing and getting back to levels seen before the years of the $2.1 billion CF Industries expansion that began in April 2014 and was completed in January 2016.
"There are hard decisions to make," Diane Allison, director of business services, said at Tuesday's meeting of the School Board's Finance and Curriculum Committee.
Jake Ragusa, director of information services and technology, presented a budget of approximately $9.7 million, down from the current fiscal year's budget of $10.2 million.
Ragusa said his department would still be able to expand its program of providing individual computer devices to students, with the addition of the second grade throughout the district's schools.
When second-graders get their Chromebooks next school year, the district will be providing computer devices to students in grades two through 12, he said.
The district's maintenance department is proposing a $3 million budget for the new fiscal year. While it's an increase from the current fiscal year's $1.1 million budget, the maintenance department is trying to prioritize from a list of projects that, if all could be funded, would cost $12 million.
Jeff Parent, maintenance supervisor, said that among the projects the department hopes to tackle with the $3 million are the first phases of new roofs for Central Middle and Donaldsonville High; heating and air conditioning upgrades at Donaldsonville Primary; and concrete drive repairs at Gonzales Middle School, Dutchtown High School and Duplessis Primary.