CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish School Board voted Tuesday to extend each school day by 15 minutes for the rest of the school year to gradually make up for classes missed because of bad weather.

The plan also will add a day and a half to the calendar in case weather forces more cancellations before the school year ends in May.

Classes will begin at 7:40 a.m. daily, five minutes earlier than usual, and end at 3:10 p.m., 10 minutes later than usual.

The new schedule will begin Feb. 15, the Thursday after Mardi Gras.

Superintendent Carlos J. Sam said the school system needs to make up a half-day in instructional time to meet the minimum requirements set by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Supervisor Knight Roddy said principals and teachers favored extending the school day, rather than an option that would have added five minutes to the day, cut out a half-day recess when report cards are issued and cut out the planned Wednesday holiday after Mardi Gras.

Board Vice President Mitchell Harrell, who voted against the plan, questioned whether the extra 15 minutes will be put to good use.

"Do you really think this is going to do any good?" Harrell asked, saying the extra time should be made up with an extra full day of school that is "educationally productive."

On another matter, the board got an overall clean audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, but the report shows a few financial clouds during that year.

Tiffani Dorsa, a director of the Postlethwaite & Netterville accounting firm, agreed with Finance Committee Chairman Michael Bradford's assessment that the audit would earn the board an A grade, as the auditors found no problems with the school system's financial practices.

State funding through the Minimum Foundation Program dropped by $425,000 last fiscal year because of a decline in funding. Figures provided Tuesday show the Feb. 1 headcount, which figures in MFP calculations, was up by a single student in grades K-12 from the Oct. 1 count.

The system's general fund had an operating loss of $507,000, which the auditors attributed to the decrease in state funding, an appropriation to the Slaughter charter school of about $304,000 and capital outlay spending of $316,000.

Property taxes declined by $97,000, but sales tax revenue increased by $234,000, the auditors said.

In other action, the board:

  • Agreed to allow the Woodland Community Center to use the Professional Learning Center's annex as a temporary location of the food bank serving the Woodland area. The community center's building has a serious rodent problem, volunteer Kenny Sanders said, and a temporary place is needed to serve the food bank's clients.
  • Recognized Annette Brown, a food service manager at East Feliciana Middle School, as employee of the month for February and Ashley Young, who works with the school's cheerleaders, as volunteer of the month.