The Morehouse Parish School Board will meet this evening to consider and take action regarding the adoption of the Consolidated Budget for 2013-2014.

As the deadline to legally have an adopted budget looms near, the Board must decide to adopt the $1, 912,578 deficit budget or face the consequences of non-compliance in the audit. The Board would also only be able to spend 50 percent of last year's budget until a new one is agreed upon.

The Board has had several conversations regarding the massive deficit but, to date, have not reached an agreement in regards to it's passing.

'We have to do something because a budget must be filed with the State [State Superintendent of Public Education] by September 15," Diane Ferschoff
, Business Manager told the Board at the August 27 Finance Committee meeting.

Jeff Churchwell, District 4, has voiced his opinion at several open meetings regarding the budget and his hesitance to vote for it.

"I simply can't vote for it," Churchwell said. "There has got to be someway to get this back in line."

Ferschoff explained that due to the opening of the Beekman Charter School, the general fund took a large hit in the amount of MFP funds it would be receiving.

"Make cuts and we will adopt," Mike Stephens, District 5 Member said.

"What do you want to do, close schools? We already have people working additional jobs for the same pay," Louis Melton, District 2 Member said. "What else can they do [to trim the budget]?

Superintendent Dr. George Noflin said due to the charter school and people resigning or retiring, they were able to save over $1 million by not replacing some of those positions. He said he had a plan to bring to the board to make sure that in the future, they would not be looking at such a huge deficit.

"I plan on meeting and talking about the consolidation of several schools," Noflin said. "But, we need to know where enrollment for each school stands before we talk about this."

Because three schools in the District - Cherry Ridge, H.V. Adams and Morehouse Junior High - have been deemed "F" schools due to LEAP scores, the students at each had to be given the option of attending either Pine Grove, Oak Hill, South Side or Delta. Parents had until Sept. 6 to make the decision to move their child and all students requesting to be moved made that transition Monday.

At the Sept. 5 meeting, Ralph Davenport, Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor, told the Board the formula for deciding who would go to a new school and what he had received thus far.

"Our first priority was to HV Adams, as they ranked the lowest," Davenport said. "Parents were able to mark their first and second choice for transfer and we had to check the capacity at the requested schools before moving anyone."

At press time Monday, Davenport said that 12 students had been transferred from HV Adams, nine students had been transferred from Cherry Ridge and approximately 25 students had been transferred from MJH.

Tonight's agenda includes a resolution declaring a General Fund Emergency and

Hiring freeze, except for teachers

All travel paid through the General Fund stopped until approved by the Board

All overtime and 'extra' pay stopped unless approved by the Board

Elimination of the Civil Rights Officer position

The setting up of an Executive Committee consisting of the current Board's President and the last two Presidents

Establishing a General Fund meeting to approve all General Fund expenditures

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Resource Center and is open to the public.