With an ever tightening budget, Webster Parish School Board members and the superintendent of schools must still carry out the duties of the district, which means travel expenses.
Those expenses appear to be well within their spending limits over the last few years.
Board members are allowed gas mileage to go board meetings, travel to and from conferences and workshops and registration fees. Finance Director Crevonne Odom said they are allotted $10,000 annually for such costs, which equates to about $833 per board member.
“Some board members may go over their allocation, but the main objective is not to go over the $10,000 each year,” she said. “The total line item budget for the three instructional supervisors is $9,000 annually.”
That breaks down to about $3,000 for each.
In 2015-16, board members spent a total of $8,645.38 for travel and registration for workshops and conferences. Former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls spent $4,053.89 in travel expenses, and Interim Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland spent $3,486.44.
These expenses covered travel for superintendent conferences in Baton Rouge, Louisiana School Board Association conferences and others.
To date, this fiscal year, $11,599.84 has been spent on travel and registration fees. The fiscal year ends June 30. Rawls, before he left, spent $3,544.30. To date, Rowland has spent $2,776.02.
While Rowland continues his duties as personnel director, he was named interim superintendent until a new superintendent is chosen.
A breakdown of expenses are:
n Brandon Edens: 2015-16: No gas mileage was reimbursed; but he was reimbursed $350 for travel and registration. This fiscal year, he has not been reimbursed for any gas mileage or registration of workshops or conferences.
n John Madden: 2015-16: No gas mileage was reimbursed, but he was reimbursed for $525 for registration fees for a conference in Bossier City for continuing education hours required of board members. This fiscal year, he was reimbursed $175 for the Louisiana School Board Association conference in New Orleans.
n Jerry Lott: 2015-16: He was reimbursed $185.28 for gas mileage to and from board meetings and none for conferences. This fiscal year, he has been reimbursed $164.16 for travel to and from board meetings and $784.37 for conference expenses.
n Malichi Ridgel: 2015-16: He was reimbursed $748.80 for mileage to and from board meetings and no reimbursements for conferences. This fiscal year, he has been reimbursed $432 for mileage to and from board meetings, but none for conferences or workshops.
Johnny Kennon, Charles Strong, Penny Long, Ronnie Broughton, Frankie Mitchell, Linda Kinsey and J.J. O’Neal were not reimbursed gas mileage in 2015-16 or this fiscal year.
Kennon was reimbursed $1,087.89 for conferences and workshops in 2015-16, and $825 for conferences this year. Strong, Long, and Broughton were not reimbursed for travel and registration for conferences in 2015-16, and Long and Strong were not reimbursed for any travel or conferences this year.
In 2015-16, Mitchell was reimbursed $2,221.66 for conferences, and $890.73 this year. Kinsey was reimbursed $1,011.44 for conferences and travel and this year was reimbursed $1,011.05.
O’Neal was reimbursed $990.46 for conference and travel in 2015-16, and no reimbursements this year.
Ronnie Rhymes was reimbursed $321.60 for gas mileage to and from board meetings and $1,203.25 for travel and registration fees in 2015-16, and this year, he was reimbursed $254.40 for mileage to and from board meetings and no reimbursements were made for travel and conference expenses.
In 2015-16, Rowland was reimbursed $3,286.44 for travel and registration fees for conferences, and so far this year has spent $2,776.02. He attended the LSBA conference in New Orleans and has been to colleges across the state for teacher recruitment.
Rawls, in 2015-16, was reimbursed $4,053.89 for travel and related expenses (hotel, registration and meals) and was reimbursed $3,544.30 this year for same expenses for attending a superintendent’s conference both years in Baton Rouge and the LSBA conferences.
Board members are reimbursed 48 cents per mile on gas mileage to and from the board meetings. Rowland said there is no policy governing whether board members are allowed to turn in mileage for board meetings; however, Rowland said there are board members who have a farther distance to drive than others. Most do not turn in mileage but Lott, Ridgel and Rhymes spent a combined $1,255.68 during the 2015-16 fiscal year and to date $850.56.
Gas mileage reimbursements and travel expenses are paid from the general fund each year.