St. Landry School System staff are working now on the budget for the upcoming year, and plan to begin discussions with the board later this month.
The current fiscal year ends in June.
This year’s budget is on track to end with a $1.6 million deficit, as expected, said Finance Director Tressa Miller.
"That’s what we budgeted for," Miller told KATC today.
Although she’s hoping for the best, Miller said she expects the budget to end with that shortfall, which will be made up with fund balance. Even after covering the deficit, the system’s general fund still will have a fund balance at the level suggested by the state, which is about 7.5 percent of revenues.
The main issue for the system is a loss of students, Miller said.
"It’s mostly because of our student enrollment, which is decreasing," Miller said.
This also was expected; the board hired a demographer a while back who predicted a continuing decrease in student enrollment. The cost of retirement and health insurance for employees also is a big ticket item, she said.
Other challenges this year include the January ice storm, which had a big impact on the system’s utility costs, and slow reimbursements for damages caused by the August 2016 flood, she said.
"The ice storm, we didn’t budget for that," she said. "We’ve fared pretty well, but we’re still hopeful."
The system is still getting reimbursements from FEMA for Gustav, so it’s possible more could come in to close the gap, Miller said.