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17 May 2017, 01:03 | Ignacio Smith
Elise Amendola AP
District voters approved the $57.3 million spending plan for 2017-18 by a margin of 723 to 112. This is nearly an 80 percent approval rating on our budget and last year's was 80 percent. A total of 646 voters were in favor of the fund, while 102 were opposed.
Of the five candidates vying for the three open seats on the board, Paul Abbot, Rachelle "Shelly" Leathers and Christine Schnars were declared the winners, with 459, 376 and 343 votes, respectively.
Parents, students and community members who worked to write the resolution spoke to the board at a meeting earlier this month and said they needed to know the district supported them so they could feel a little safer.
This is the fourth straight year the district's tax levy is below the state's increase cap, so homeowners will be eligible for a state property tax rebate, sent directly to homeowners in the fall of 2017. "They're trying to get the Legislature to pass a budget by the end of May", he said. Voters also approved the purchase of school buses and similar vehicles at a maximum cost of $200,000, with 150 voting in favor and 45 voting against.
In board reports, Eastland Elementary School Principal Angela Mahoney gave an update on the district's new remedial summer reading program, for K-2 students whose reading skills are significantly below grade level. The budget increases year-over-year spending by $541,140, up 2.54 percent. Richard Carlson, the current board president, received 294 votes and was not re-elected.
As reported following previous school board meetings, the upcoming school year will face some financial challenges due to some unfavorable audit findings which show a history of the Hot Springs School District outspending their incoming resources. For the board candidates, Penny Barry got 189 votes, write-in candidate Susan Hrovat got 132 votes, and Darren Wilson got 92 votes.
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An increased employer contribution to the Public School Employees' Retirement System from 30.03 percent of payroll to 32.57 percent.
Morris' budget passed 116-43, with the capital reserve 108-48 in favor and the library passing 90-69.
In the Board of Education race for three seats, incumbents Rachelle Nardelli (904), Denise Kness (874) and Glen Malia (850) earned new three-year terms, defeating Michelle Browne (309) and Gnesia Feliu (174).
But area districts have learned from past mistakes, which usually resulted in budgeted being voted down, and now work hard to come in at or below their cap. Three candidates are running for two school board seats. Frederes inched out Cathleen Abers-Kimball, who garnered 208 votes.
The Lafayette Parish School Board will begin consideration of almost $6 million in cuts, on top of $2 million already proposed. Voters approved the budget, with 390 voting in favor and 142 voting against.
The board also discussed school meal prices for the 2017-18 year. Also when looking at vacation days during the second semester next year, students will get back the President's Day holiday on February 19, as well as an additional day over Easter (March 29-April 2) for a total of five days off for the holiday.
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