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Board travel expenses up for discussion

by Minden Press-Herald

Travel expenses for Webster Parish School Board members will be one of the hot topics on the board’s agenda at its next scheduled meeting Monday, October 27.

Jerry Lott, chairman of the board’s policy review committee, said travel allocations would be discussed at the next meeting “…not so much for approval since it’s already part of our policy, but as an issue of clarity and reinforcement.”

During a review committee meeting prior to Monday’s regular session, Lott said each board member is given a designated allocation for travel. From a total travel budget of $10,000 per year, each member receives $833.33, Lott pointed out.

“Policy calls for anyone going above their budgeted amount must come back to the board for approval…” of additional travel expense, he said.

Finance Director Crevonne Odom told board members the $10,000 total figure is down from $12,000, a reduction made when cuts in the budget were approved some years ago.

Lott also said the policy would emphasize that individuals who do not use their allocated expense may not distribute those funds to another board member.

“If you have $500 you can’t take your money and let somebody else use it. That would not be approved,” he said.

“But we cannot stifle our education because you’re talking about money,” board member Frankie Mitchell responded. “I can use up $1,000 in one national meeting.”

Some board members cannot travel because of jobs, Mitchell pointed out. Those who are able to attend educational conferences “…haven’t misused it. If I want to go and bring back information, I don’t see why I can’t go.”

Lott said he did not want board members to think the policy enforcement was intended as punishment, but he pointed to other groups in the system who had travel allocations “…and the only one who is exceeding (the allocation) is the school board. That is not right,” he said.

During a lengthy meeting Monday, board members:

approved $9,600.49 payment to ALTEC Environmental Consulting, LLC for lead inspection and removal and $6,135.48 for abatement at Harper Elementary. District 6 half-cent sales tax money will be the funding source.

approved $2,923.21 payment to ALTEC for project management and oversight and $17,250 to Gill Industries, Ltd. for abatement and demolition at North Webster Jr. High using Sarepta maintenance funds.

approved an AD Sign Service, Inc. invoice of $1,813 for labor and materials to install a digital sign. Money comes from the Doyline school building fund.
ngave the okay to spend a total of $179,140 for two special needs school busses ($89,570 each) using ’96 sales tax funds.

agreed to pay Wiggins Properties & Construction $11,200 for repairing the drainage system at Lakeside High School’s track field, using Consolidated 3 building fund.

allowed J.E. Harper Elementary School to purchase 14 floor mats for a total of $700. District 6 half-cent sales tax funds will be used for the purchase.

approved spending $782 with Ground Work of LA to refinish the gym floor at North Webster Jr. High. Money will come from the Sarepta maintenance fund.

granted approval to spend $2,875 with John Gibbs Roof Systems for repairs to the main building office at North Webster Lower Elementary using Shongaloo building fund money.

approved $39,750 for 20-ton RTU units at Doyline High School’s gym. Funding comes from the Doyline bond fund.

agreed to spend $2,646.42 from Consolidated 3 building fund to purchase an ice machine from Freidman’s for Central Elementary.

approved $2,580 from the District 6 half-cent sales tax fund to allow Ground Works of LA to refinish gym floors at Minden High School.

approved the installation of portable bleachers at Minden High School by Schrock Specialty Company at a cost of $4,400. Money will come from the District 6 half-cent sales tax fund.

approved $1,000 for Dewey Siah Painting to refinish the gym floor at Doyline High School using Doyline School building fund.

Board members also voted to approve a number of field trips for parish students.

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