The Lafourche Parish School Board has unanimously voted to adopt its 2019-20 budget that includes additional money from the state and the district for employee raises.

No one participated in the public hearing ahead of the vote Wednesday night.

Teachers and support staff will benefit from an increase to the state's school funding formula -- the Minimum Foundation Program -- and their first step increase from the district in three years.

Lafourche's school employees are behind on their salary schedules by three steps after they were frozen due to a budget cuts in 2016.

Before adopting the budget, board member Marian Fertitta thanked the district's business staff for its work on the budget. Board member Valerie Bourgeois encouraged more residents to continue to shop locally in light of the slight bump in sales tax revenue projected in the budget. 

All 12 of the board members present voted in a favor of the budget. Board members Robby Gisclair, Mary Breaud and Dennis Guillot were absent.

This year's budget also projects that the district's revenue will exceed its expenditures for just the third time in a decade.

The school district is working toward building a healthy fund balance -- or pool of unassigned money that can be used for unexpected needs during the school year.

With its current budget, the district expects to reach a fund balance of $8.79 million by the end of this fiscal year. This is a growth of 139 percent since 2018, though the district will need to nearly double that amount over the next few years to achieve an adequate fund balance, according to the school district's business manager, Don Gaudet.

A copy of the 2019-20 budget is available on the school district's website.

 

Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at hparker@houmatoday.com or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.