Picayune School board hears budget proposal

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

The board of trustees for the Picayune School District held a budget hearing before Tuesday’s meeting.
In that meeting the finance department presented the board with a proposed budget, which they will consider for adoption at a later meeting.
In that proposal, the district is requesting a total budget of $34.6 million. Of that total, $9.3 million will be generated locally, mostly from ad valorem taxes, $18 million will come from state funds and $6.9 million will come from federal funds. Other avenues of funding include $176,166 generated from the rental of 16th section land.
Finance Director Lisa Penton asked the board for an additional $20,000 in the coming year, due to an expected change in homestead exemption.
Teachers will receive a $1,000 raise for the year, while hourly employees will receive a raise of .50 cents an hour.
After the budget hearing the board heard from Lynn Greer with Landry and Lewis Architects about the status of work to improve drainage on the high school baseball field.
Greer said the contractor has excavated the outfield and found some soft spots in the soil, which would require remediation. She said there is the option to use textiles or a mesh to fix the problem, allowing the district to avoid digging out the problem spots.
At the current depth of excavation, the cost to conduct the work so far is at $24,000. Had the contractor excavated two feet of dirt, the cost would have been closer to $150,000, Greer said.
Additionally, more groundwater was discovered in the field than expected, leading Greer to request a six day extension to the contract to take care of the issue.
Early Head Start Director Dr. Pam Thomas addressed the board about work to rehabilitate day cares and childcare centers that will participate in the Early Head Start expansion project. Thomas said the program received $2 million, $1 million of which will be used to prepare the facilities to become part of the program. The rehabilitation work will address any safety issues noted during an upcoming inspection by architects of all participating sites.
Thomas said the program currently serves 80 children at the Rosa Street location and 40 children at the Nicholson location.
Expansion of the program will bring in 72 additional children, who will be taught Early Head Start curriculum at participating childcare facilities. If the facilities fail to comply with Early Head Start requirements, the funding and children will be pulled from that facility, Thomas said.
The next meeting will take place on June 23 at noon in the district office on Goodyear Boulevard.

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