The St. Tammany Parish School Board on Thursday adopted a $416 million budget that anticipates a leveling off in sales tax revenue in the next year but an increase in property tax revenue and money from the state, as well as nearly $12 million in money from the BP oil spill settlement.
The board approved the budget unanimously with no discussion or comment from the public.
The 2015-16 budget projects a nearly $22 million increase in revenue over last year and a nearly $13 million increase in expenditures.
The spending increase includes $5.3 million in employee pay raises and stipends for teachers who are deemed highly effective, plus a $1.3 million increase in transportation costs linked to equipment purchases, additional bus drivers and additional support personnel.
The School Board takes in more tax revenue than any other government entity in the parish, with proceeds from property and sales taxes accounting for $202 million.
The administration is expecting a $1.8 million increase in property taxes but doesn’t expect to see growth in sales tax revenue in the coming fiscal year, according to Superintendent Trey Folse’s budget message.
The budget includes a $1.9 million increase in Minimum Foundation Program funds from the state, tied to an increase in per student allocation and growth of about 250 students.
St. Tammany schools also will get $3 million from the state to continue paying for teacher pay raises and retirement costs.
The School Board’s share of the BP oil fund settlement was $15.4 million, but after legal fees and other costs, the actual amount available for spending will be $11.6 million.
The largest expenditure in the budget is salaries, which make up nearly 57 percent of the budget at $227 million. The school system is the largest employer in the parish, with about 5,500 employees.
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