ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish school system operated at a slight deficit in its main accounting fund last school year, but the operating loss was $1.3 million less than originally budgeted, according to audited figures.
The School Board began the 2016-17 school year anticipating a $1.333 million deficit in its general fund, but the overspending had been reduced to $32,687 by the time the year ended June 30.
The board added extra teachers last year in an attempt to improve students' performances.
The general fund supports most expenditures related to classroom instruction and most of its revenues come from state appropriations and local sales and property taxes.
Revenues totaled $26.9 million last year, including $9.3 million in property taxes and $7.5 million in sales taxes. The state Minimum Foundation Program appropriation amounted to another $9.4 million.
The School Board is asking voters to renew two property taxes in a special March 24 election.
The first proposition on the ballot is to renew a 14.75-mill tax for a period of 10 years, beginning next year.
The second proposition seeks renewal of an 11-mill property tax, also for 10 years but beginning in 2020.
Superintendent Hollis G. Milton told board members at a Jan. 23 meeting that they should begin making plans to promote the tax renewals, reminding members the two property taxes amount to about one-fourth of the general fund's revenues.
Auditor Rodney Combs, of the Postlethwaite and Netterville accounting firm, told the board at the same meeting that auditors gave an "unmodified opinion" on the accuracy of the school system's financial statements.
The opinion is the best given in an annual audit and shows the financial statements are materially correct, Combs said.
The auditors did not find any material weaknesses in its financial controls, although in a separate audit of federally-funded programs they recommended improving the system's documentation that it meets federal guidelines for various programs.
As an example, the board should provide evidence that no vendors paid with federal funds are included on a federal list of suspended suppliers of goods and services, Combs said.
The 150-page audit report is available to the public on the state Legislative Auditor's Office website under the listing for audit reports by parishes.